Tag Archives: Senator Patty Murray

Senate Republican Leadership Continues to Block Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports

Republicans who are in the majority in the US Senate and in the leadership continue to block electronic filing of Senate campaign finance reports required by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). US Senate candidates only file quarterly reports. Currently the US Senate reports are the only campaign finance reports on the Federal level not filed electronically with the FEC. They are first filed in paper copies with the US Senate, copied and then transferred to the FEC. This significantly delays by 2-3 weeks or more the public and media being able to get timely reporting of campaign contributions and spending.

Democrats joined by Republicans and Independents continue to try to get the US Senate to join the computer age and file copies electronically with the FEC.  Senator Jon Tester of Montana in February 2015  filed SB 366 – the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act. Some 45 Senators have signed on to date – 32 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 2 Independents.

This is not a new issue but Majority Rules wrote about this seven years ago, including “US Senators Still Trying to Figure out Computers and the Internet ” and “An Open Letter to Senator Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell“.  Senator Cantwell has since signed onto this legislation both in this Congressional session and the previous one. Senator Patty Murray for some reason has not. She should.

The Center for Public Integrity in a 2015 post entitled “Senators resist the internet, leave voters in the dark” noted that:

In a throwback to the age of typewriters and snail mail, Senate candidate must still, by law, submit their official campaign finance reports on paper.
A bipartisan bill — known as the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act — would force Senate candidates to file digitally, just as presidential candidates, U.S. House candidates and political action committees have done for nearly a generation.
Paper campaign finance records are more difficult to analyze and aren’t readily available to the public for days after being filed. Digital records are publicly accessible and easily searchable from the moment they’re submitted to FEC officials.

Some Senators have decided to voluntarily file electronically. In the same Center for Public Integrity post it was noted that 20 Senators were listed as also filing their second quarter 2015 reports digitally -16 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 2 Independents.

As GovTrack.us notes:

These reports are important because they list how much money candidates have raised and from which individuals/sources. This transparency in turn can help reveal potential conflicts of interest and indicate which issues an incumbent or potential politician may prioritize while in office. For example, on the presidential race, these numbers have revealed which candidates rely more on Super PACs versus individual donors, or which candidates billionaires have donated to.

The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the bill would save approximately $500,000 per year through factors such as reduced printing costs.

If your Senator is not a supporter of SB 366 urge them to do so. The public has a right to campaign finance information in a timely manner. In fact while they are at it they really should be doing monthly reporting, not quarterly. Washington State has been doing monthly disclosure by candidates for years and it helps citizens see who is supporting candidates and where money is being spent.

Why aren’t Senators Cantwell and Murray Co- Sponsors of the Resolution to Change Filibuster Rules?

by Steve Zemke

Good question. Why aren’t Washington State Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray co-sponsors of Senate Resolution 10 introduced earlier this month. The filibuster has been used effectively by Republicans to stop legislation the Democrats supported. Then the Republicans turned around and blamed the Democrats for not addressing critical issues facing America. It’s past time to change the rules to allow the Senate to do the people’s business. Let’s do it now.

Senate Resolution 10 – A resolution to improve the debate and consideration of legislative matters and nominations in the Senate was introduced Jan 5, 2011 by Senator Tom Udall and has 24 other co-sponsors. Washington States two Senators are not among the sponsors.

The other Senators besides Tom Udall supporting Senate Resolution 10 are:

Mark Begich [D-AK]
Richard Blumenthal [D-CT]
Barbara Boxer [D-CA]
Sherrod Brown [D-OH]
Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]
Robert Casey [D-PA] Chris Coons [D-DE]
Richard Durbin [D-IL]
Al Franken [D-MN]
Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]
Kay Hagan [D-NC]
Thomas Harkin [D-IA] Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
Frank Lautenberg [D-NJ]
Joe Manchin [D-WV]
Jeff Merkley [D-OR]
Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
Frank Lautenberg [D-NJ]
Joe Manchin [D-WV]
Jeff Merkley [D-OR]
Barbara Mikulski [D-MD]
John Rockefeller [D-WV] Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH]
Debbie Ann Stabenow [D-MI]
Jon Tester [D-MT]
Mark Udall [D-CO]
Mark Warner [D-VA]
Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]

A post on Daily Kos gives more details on what Senate Resolution 10 would do in changing the rules of how the US Senate operates. Every two years the US Senate has the opportunity to change their rules at the beginning of their current session.

Clear Path to Debate: Eliminate the Filibuster on Motions to Proceed

Makes motions to proceed not subject to a filibuster, but provides for two hours of debate. This proposal has had bipartisan support for decades and is often mentioned as a way to end the abuse of holds.

Eliminates Secret Holds

Prohibits one Senator from objecting on behalf of another, unless he or she discloses the name of the senator with the objection. This is a simple solution to address a longstanding problem.

Right to Amend: Guarantees Consideration of Amendments for both Majority and Minority

Protects the rights of the minority to offer amendments following cloture filing, provided the amendments are germane and have been filed in a timely manner.

This provision addresses comments of Republicans at last year’s Rules Committee hearings. Each time Democrats raised concerns about filibusters on motions to proceed, Republicans responded that it was their only recourse because the Majority Leader fills the amendment tree and prevents them from offering amendments. Our resolution provides a simple solution – it guarantees the minority the right to offer germane amendments.

Talking Filibuster: Ensures Real Debate

Following a failed cloture vote, Senators opposed to proceeding to final passage will be required to continue debate as long as the subject of the cloture vote or an amendment, motion, point of order, or other related matter is the pending business.

Expedite Nominations: Reduce Post-Cloture Time

Provides for two hours of post-cloture debate time for nominees.

Post cloture time is meant for debating and voting on amendments — something that is not possible on nominations. Instead, the minority now requires the Senate use this time simply to prevent it from moving on to other business.

Washington voters should contact Senator Maria Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray and urge them to support Resolution 10 now!

Send an  email to Senator Patty Murray

Send an email to Senator Maria Cantwell

Could Senator Murray be in Trouble in Washington State?

In more bad news for Democratic incumbents, a new Field poll in California shows that Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is now in a dead heat in her re-election race. Senator Barbara Boxer’s race is now a tossup Since January her polling numbers have dropped.  Matching her up with any one of her 3 potential Republican opponents shows the race dead even. Her Republican opponent will be picked in California’s June Primary.

The matchups show Campbell leading Boxer 44 percent to 43 percent, Boxer edging Fiorina 45 percent to 44 percent and leading DeVore 45 percent to 41 percent. In January, Boxer led all three by double-digit margins.

“These are yes and no votes on Boxer,” DiCamillo said. “They’re not distinguishing among the Republicans because they don’t know much about the Republicans.”

Washington State supporters of Senator Patty Murray should be worried.  The public is in a foul mood, poisoned by the negative governing strategies of the Republicans in Congress, who have adopted a strategy of obstructing Congress from getting anything done and then blaming it on the Democrats.

A New York Times article yesterday discussed in depth the strategy that Senator Mitch McConnell proposed after Obama was elected and that he has implemented and carried out over the last year. The strategy was fairly simple. It was to:

“…use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation.

Republicans embraced it. Democrats denounced it as rank obstructionism. Either way, it has led the two parties, as much as any other factor, to where they are right now. Republicans are now monolithically against the health care legislation, leaving the president and his party executing parliamentary back flips to get it passed, conservatives revived, liberals wondering what happened. ”

The New York Times argues that in the short term this strategy has worked for the Republicans. Democrats like Senator Patty Murray, need to reach out to the public and explain why they are not able to get much of anything done.  She needs to point to the obstructionist policies of the Republicans and ask why anyone would think that putting the Republicans back in charge was going to solve any of our nation’s problems.

McConnell has used his skills to frustrate the will of the voters and put the Obama vision that voters supported at risk. Voters need to wake up and kick the Republicans out, not vote out the Democrats. Obama naively assumed the Republicans would work with him; he needs to play hardball now and act like a leader.

The Republicans know how to stop things.  They have no vision to solve health care or create jobs or deal with climate change.  They have shown they can stop government from working. That’s hardly a reason to vote for them.

Voters need to elect those that are going to deal with America’s hopes and future.  Electing more Republicans will only return us to more of the same concentration of special interest power supporting a failed free enterprise system we saw under Bush and Reagan – more corporate power, more tax breaks for the wealthy, less environmental protection, more right wing conservatives on the US Supreme Court, less help for the unfortunate and more concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

Wake up America.  It’s time to get to work and solve our problems, not revert to the failed policies of the free enterprise Republicans that got us in our present financial mess. Only fools would reward Republican obstructionism by voting for more Republicans.