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Chip Pickering on Government Reform

Republican Representative (MS-3)


Voted YES on restricting independent grassroots political committees.

A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say:
  • This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.
  • This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.
  • H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent
    Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act"; Bill H.R.513 ; vote number 2006-088 on Apr 5, 2006

    Voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.

    The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
    Reference: The Cheesburger Bill; Bill HR 554 ; vote number 2005-533 on Oct 19, 2005

    Voted YES on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.

    Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
    1. a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
    2. a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
    3. a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA]; Bill S.5 ; vote number 2005-038 on Feb 17, 2005

    Voted YES on restricting frivolous lawsuits.

    Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
    1. require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
    2. disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
    3. require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
    4. authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
    5. make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]; Bill H.R.4571 ; vote number 2004-450 on Sep 14, 2004

    Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions.

    Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Overhaul: Vote to pass a bill that would ban soft money contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT, and Meehan D-MA; Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2002-34 on Feb 14, 2002

    Voted YES on banning soft money donations to national political parties.

    Support a ban on soft money donations to national political parties but allow up to $10,000 in soft-money donations to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the vote activity.
    Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2001-228 on Jul 12, 2001

    Voted NO on banning soft money and issue ads.

    Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT; Bill HR 417 ; vote number 1999-422 on Sep 14, 1999

    Other candidates on Government Reform: Chip Pickering on other issues:
    MS Gubernatorial:
    Haley Barbour
    Ronnie Musgrove
    MS Senatorial:
    Erik Fleming
    Thad Cochran
    Trent Lott

    2004 Presidential:
    Pres.George W. Bush
    Sen.John Kerry
    Ralph Nader

    2008 possibilities:

    Sen.Hillary Clinton
    Sen.John Edwards
    Sen.Russ Feingold
    Rudy Giuliani
    V.P.Al Gore
    Sen.Barack Obama
    Sen.John McCain


    2006 Senate retirements:
    Jon Corzine(D,NJ)
    Mark Dayton(DFL,MN)
    Bill Frist(R,TN)
    Jim Jeffords(I,VT)
    Paul Sarbanes(D,MD)
    2006 Senate Races:
    (AZ)Kyl v.Pederson
    (CA)Feinstein v.Mountjoy
    (CT)Lieberman v.Lamont v.Schlesinger
    (DE)Carper v.Ting
    (FL)Nelson v.Harris
    (HI)Akaka v.Thielen
    (IN)Lugar v.Osborn
    (MA)Kennedy v.Chase
    (MD)Cardin v.Steele v.Zeese
    (ME)Snowe v.Bright
    (MI)Stabenow v.Bouchard
    (MN)Kennedy v.Klobuchar
    (MO)Talent v.McCaskill
    (MS)Lott v.Fleming v.Bowlin
    (MT)Burns v.Tester
    (ND)Conrad v.Grotberg
    (NE)Nelson v.Ricketts
    (NJ)Menendez v.Kean
    (NM)Bingaman v.McCulloch
    (NV)Ensign v.Carter
    (NY)Clinton v.Spencer
    (OH)DeWine vBrown
    (PA)Santorum v.Casey
    (RI)Chafee vWhitehouse
    (TN)Ford v.Corker
    (TX)Hutchison v.Radnofsky
    (UT)Hatch v.Ashdown
    (VA)Allen v.Webb
    (VT)Sanders v.Tarrant
    (WA)Cantwell v.McGavick v.Guthrie
    (WI)Kohl v.Vogeler v.Redick
    (WV)Byrd v.Raese
    (WY)Thomas v.Groutage
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