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Ed Case on Government Reform

Former Democratic Representative (HI-2, until 2007)


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 organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.
  • H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
    Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act"; Bill H.R.513 ; vote number 2006-088 on Apr 5, 2006

    Voted NO 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

    Voluntary public financing for all general elections.

    Case adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

    Return Politics to the People
    At a time when much of the world is emulating American values and institutions, too many Americans have lost confidence in their political system. They are turned off by a partisan debate that often seems to revolve not around opposing philosophies but around contending sets of interest groups. They believe that our current system for financing campaigns gives disproportionate power to wealthy individuals and groups and exerts too much influence over legislative and regulatory outcomes.

    The time for piecemeal reform is past. As campaign costs soar at every level, we need to move toward voluntary public financing of all general elections and press broadcasters to donate television time to candidates.

    The Internet holds tremendous potential for making campaigns less expensive and more edifying and for engaging Americans directly in electoral politics. We should promote the Internet as a new vehicle for political communication and champion online voting.

    Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC9 on Aug 1, 2000

    Prohibit non-legislated earmarks.

    Case co-sponsored prohibiting non-legislated earmarks

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds for appropriations earmarks included only in congressional reports.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bill would prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds which have been earmarked only in congressional reports. This legislation is designed to help reign in unauthorized, unrequested, run-of-the-mill pork barrel projects.

    Report language does not have the force of law. That fact has been lost when it comes to appropriations bills and reports. It has become a standard practice to load up committee reports with literally billions of dollars in unrequested, unauthorized, and wasteful pork barrel projects.

    We simply must start making some very tough decisions around here if we are serious about improving our fiscal future. It is simply not fiscally responsible for us to continue to load up appropriations bills with wasteful and unnecessary spending, and good deals for special interests and their lobbyists. We have had ample opportunities to tighten our belts in this town in recent years, and we have taken a pass each and every time. We can't put off the inevitable any longer.

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management & Government Information; hearings held; never came to a vote.

    Source: Obligation of Funds Transparency Act (S.1495/H.R.1642) 05-S1495 on Jul 26, 2005

    Other candidates on Government Reform: Ed Case on other issues:
    HI Gubernatorial:
    Neil Abercrombie
    HI Senatorial:
    Daniel Inouye

    HI politicians

    Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
    AZ:Kyl(R)
    CT:Lieberman(D)
    HI:Akaka(D)
    ND:Conrad(D)
    NE:Nelson(D)
    NM:Bingaman(D)
    TX:Hutchison(R)
    VA:Webb(D)
    WI:Kohl(D)


    Senate elections Nov. 2012:
    AZ:Flake(R) vs.Hackbarth(R)
    CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Taitz(R)
    CT:Bysiewicz(R) vs.Murphy(R) vs.Shays(R)
    DE:Carper(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
    FL:Nelson(D) vs.LeMieux(R) vs.Connie Mack(R)
    HI:Hirono(D) vs.Case(D)
    IN:Lugar(R) vs.Mourdock(R) vs.Donnelly(D)
    MA:Brown(R) vs.E.Warren(D)
    MD:Cardin(D) vs.Wargotz(R) vs.Capps(R)
    ME:Snowe(D) vs.D`Amboise(R)
    MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hekman(R) vs.Konetchy(R) vs.Hoekstra(R)
    MN:Klobuchar(D) vs.Arwood(R) vs.Hernandez(R) vs.Severson(R)
    MO:McCaskill(D) vs.Akin(R) vs.Steelman(R)
    MS:Wicker(D)
    MT:Tester(D) vs.Rehberg(R)
    ND:Heitkamp(D) vs.Berg(R)

    NE:Nelson(D) vs.Kerrey(D) vs.Flynn(R) vs.Stenberg(R) vs.Bruning(R)
    NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Diakos(R) vs.Booker(D)
    NM:Bingaman(D) vs.Balderas(D) vs.Sanchez(R) vs.Wilson(R) vs.Martin Heinrich(D)
    NV:Heller(R) vs.Berkley(D)
    NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Noren(D) vs.Maragos(R)
    OH:Brown(D) vs.Pryce(R) vs.Mandel(R) vs.Coughlin(R)
    PA:Casey(D) vs.Scaringi(R)
    RI:Whitehouse(D) vs.Hinckley(R)
    TN:Corker(R)
    TX:Cruz(R) vs.Leppert(R) vs.Jones(R)
    UT:Hatch(R) vs.Ashdown(D) vs.Chaffetz(R)
    VA:Kaine(D) vs.Allen(R) vs.Radtke(R) vs.Donner(R)
    VT:Sanders(I)
    WA:Cantwell(D) vs.Baumgartner(R)
    WI:Schiess(R) vs.Neumann(R) vs.Thompson(R) vs.Kagen(D) vs.Baldwin(D) vs.Schiess(R)
    WV:Manchin(D) vs.Raese(R)
    WY:Barrasso(R)
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    Page last updated: Feb 22, 2012