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Lincoln Chafee on Government Reform

Independent RI Governor; previously Republican Senator (1999-2007)


Vindicated for opposing Alito, by Alito's bad votes

Q: Your views on Samuel Alito?s Supreme Court nomination?

LAFFEY: Alito served for 15 years at the federal bench and did a great job. After looking at his record and watching him testify, I certainly would have approved him. The difference between Chafee and I on this issue is: 1) he has a litmus test for Supreme Court justices. I look at their character. Iíll look at their independence. Iíll look at their law school.. And 2) Chafee made himself completely irrelevant in the process. He was the 99th senator to make up his mind.

CHAFEE: I carefully followed the judiciary committee hearings to see how Alito answered some of these questions important to me and to the country, and then conferred with many experts of the interpretation of those answers in that committee. I think Iíve been vindicated. In the last vote on executive powers, Alito was in the expansion of those powers and on the commerce clause as it relates to the Clean Water Act and a Michigan case heard by the Supreme Court.

Source: 2006 R.I. Republican Senate Primary debate (x-ref Laffey) , Aug 24, 2006

Has concerns about Bush's expansion of executive power

Q: What is the proper oversight role of Congress and its judiciary? A: This is an important issue not just because Bush might be trying to expand these executive powers; itís who might come later. Itís the precedent set for who might come later and over those 200 plus years of democracy here, weíve carefully guarded that balance of power between the legislative, judicial and executive branches. Weíre seeing the expansion of this executive power particular in wiretapping and Bush saying Iím commander in chief, I can supersede the fourth amendment of the constitution. The fourth amendment says if you want to wiretap, search or seizure, get a warrant. Itís easy. Bush is saying no, under Article Two, I donít have to get a warrant. The issue of detainees being held without charges down in Guantanamo Bay is another expansion of executive powers. Thirdly, the President signs the laws that that the Congress passes. But Bush puts a signing statement on it, saying I donít have to adhere to that law.
Source: 2006 R.I. Republican Senate Primary debate on WPRI , Aug 24, 2006

Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress.

A motion to table (kill) an amendment to clarify the application of the gift rule to lobbyists. Voting NAY would define employees of lobbying companies as registered lobbyists and therefore subject to the gift ban. Voting YEA would apply the gift ban only to specific people who registered as lobbyists.
Reference: Feingold Amendment to Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act; Bill S.Amdt.2962 to S.2349 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 29, 2006

Voted YES on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity.

An amendment to establish the Senate Office of Public Integrity. Voting YEA would establish the new office, and voting NAY would keep ethics investigations within the existing Senate Ethics Committee.
Reference: Collins Amendment to Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act; Bill S.Amdt.3176 to S.2349 ; vote number 2006-077 on Mar 28, 2006

Voted YES on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.

Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban ďsoft moneyĒ 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 HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration.

Motion to Table Schumer Amdt. No. 2937; To permit the use of a signature or personal mark for the purpose of verifying the identity of voters who register by mail, and for other purposes. Voting Yes would kill the amendment. The amendment would allow a signature to identify voters who register by mail, instead of requiring showing photo identification or other proof of residence before being allowed to vote.
Reference: Bill S.565 ; vote number 2002-38 on Feb 27, 2002

Voted YES on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations.

Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Reference: Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Restrict lobbyist gifts & disclose lobbyist info on Internet.

Chafee co-sponsored restricting lobbyist gifts & disclosing info on Internet

EXCERPTS OF BILL:

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs; Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar No. 369; never came to a vote.

Source: Lobbying Transparency & Accountability Act (S.2128/H.R.4975) 05-S2128 on Dec 16, 2005

Reduce federal government size & scope, including military.

Chafee adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:

The federal government must reduce its size and scope, and cede certain federally operated policies and services to the states and private sector that are better equipped to handle them. One way to accomplish this would be to limit growth of government spending at or even below the inflation rate. Long-term economic growth is dependent upon sustained federal discipline. We believe this is the time to carefully assess both our domestic discretionary and our military commitments. In both areas, we face a potential fiscal imbalance between our program commitments and our available resources. Perhaps neither the Congress nor the American people fully appreciate the impact of budget decisions in these areas. We owe it to the nation and its future to undertake an honest dialogue regarding the implications of these decisions on the state, local and private sectors.

Source: Republican Main St. Partnership Issue Paper: Fiscal Policy 98-RMSP4 on Sep 9, 1998

Other governors on Government Reform: Lincoln Chafee on other issues:
RI Gubernatorial:
Donald Carcieri
RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Sheldon Whitehouse

Election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie (won)
NJ-D: Barbara Buono (lost)
VA-R: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli (lost)
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe (won)

Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Solis(D) vs.Villaraigosa(D)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D)
HI: Abercrombie(D) vs.Djou(R)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hoefling(R) vs.Culver(D)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Baker(R)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.Johnson(L)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Boren(D)
PA: (R) vs.Schwartz(D) vs.Critz(D)
Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
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Page last updated: Jan 09, 2014