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Annie Kuster on Government Reform

 

 


Citizens United gives outsized role to corporate interests

I am deeply concerned about the outsized role special and corporate interests play in our politics, particularly in the wake of the Citizens United ruling of 2010.

Our current campaign finance system is stacked against middle class families, and I will work hard in Congress to restore fairness and transparency to our elections. I strongly support taking action to reverse Citizens United, including a Constitutional Amendment, and strengthen disclosure rules through legislation such as the DISCLOSE Act.

I am proud to be running a grassroots campaign that is powered by everyday New Hampshire families--not corporate interests. More than 15,000 individuals have already contributed to our campaign, and 85% of our donations have been less than $50.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, kusterforcongress.com , Nov 6, 2012

Full disclosure of campaign spending.

Kuster co-sponsored DISCLOSE 2013 Act

Disclosure of Information on Spending on Campaigns Leads to Open and Secure Elections Act of 2013 or DISCLOSE 2013 Act:

Source: H.R.148 13-HR0148 on Jan 3, 2013

Matching fund for small donors, with debate requirements.

Kuster signed Fair Elections Now Act

Congressional Summary:Fair Elections Now Act--Amends 1971 FECA with respect to:

Statement of support for corresponding Senate bill: (Sunlight Foundation) Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won't be deterred--as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we'll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we'll win.

Source: S.375/H.R.269 14_H269 on Jan 15, 2013

No photo IDs to vote; they suppress the vote.

Kuster signed Voting Rights Amendment Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with respect to the requirement that a federal court retain jurisdiction for an appropriate period to prevent commencement of new devices to deny or abridge the right to vote. Expands the types of violations triggering the authority of a court to retain such jurisdiction to include certain violations of the Act as well as violations of any federal voting rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. [This bill would ban requiring photo IDs in order to vote].

Opponents recommend voting NO because:Sen. Bob Dole (on related bill from 2007, whether to add an amendment allowing photo ID): I am proposing a commonsense measure to uphold the integrity of Federal elections. My amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls would go a long way in minimizing potential for voter fraud. When a fraudulent vote is cast and counted, the vote of a legitimate voter is cancelled. This is wrong, and my amendment would help ensure that one of the hallmarks of our democracy, our free and fair elections, is protected. Opinion polls repeatedly confirm that Americans overwhelmingly support this initiative.

Proponents support voting YES because:Sen. Dianne Feinstein (on related bill from 2007): If one would want to suppress the vote in the 2008 election, one would vote [for Dole's amendment] this because this measure goes into effect January 1, 2008. It provides that everybody who votes essentially would have to have a photo ID. If you want to suppress the minority vote, the elderly vote, the poor vote, this is exactly the way to do it. Many of these people do not have driver's licenses. This amendment would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to actually carry out. It goes into effect--surprise--January 1, 2008 [to affect the presidential election].

Source: H.R.3899/S.1945 14_H3899 on Jan 16, 2014

Establish "My Voice Voucher" small campaign contributions.

Kuster co-sponsored Government By the People Act

Congressional summary:

Proponent's argument in favor (by Reps. Nancy Pelosi & John Sarbanes): Citizens United shook the foundation of our democracy: the principle that it is the voices of the people, not the bank accounts of the privileged few, that determine the outcome of our elections and the policies of our government. Most members of Congress would leap at the chance to fund their campaigns without having to turn to a familiar cast of big donors and entrenched interests. Today, that's virtually impossible. But we can and must break the grip of special interests on our politics: rally around H.R. 20.

Opponent's argument against (The Examiner): The proposed legislation seeks to undo the Citizens United v. FEC ruling which has been a thorn in the side of progressives ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that political spending was "a form of protected speech under the First Amendment." Although the "Government by the People Act" innocently claims to want to get big money out of politics, the real goal is to smash the Tea Party. The fear that conservative groups would have access to funds typically granted to progressive groups and unions was too much to bear.

Source: H.R.20 14-H0020 on Feb 5, 2014

Public financing of federal campaigns by voter vouchers.

Kuster co-sponsored H.R.20 & S.366

Congressional Summary:<

Supporters reasons for voting YEA:Rep. Sarbanes: Big money warps Congress' priorities and erodes the public's trust in government. This bold new legislation returns voice and power back to the American people:

  1. Empower everyday citizens to fuel Congressional campaigns by providing a My Voice Tax Credit.
  2. Amplify the voices of everyday Americans through a 6-to-1 match.
  3. Prevent Super PACs from drowning out small donor-backed candidates.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY:(Bill Moyers, Feb. 19, 2015): This citizen engagement strategy, particularly when used to court small donors, is not without its critics. Small donors, at least in the current system, often tend to be political ideologues. That trend leaves many asking: won't moving to small donors just empower extremists? Sarbanes counters, if Congress changes the political fundraising rules, they will also change the calculus for "the rational small donor who right now isn't going to give $25 because they've figured out that it's not going to matter." The prospect of a 6-to-1 match might very well impact how those less ideologically extreme potential donors think about political giving.

Source: Government By the People Act 15_H020 on Jan 21, 2015

No separate contribution limits for party activities.

Kuster co-sponsored H.R.154

Congressional Summary: To repeal the Federal Election Campaign provisions which established separate contribution limits for contributions made to national parties to support Presidential nominating conventions, national party headquarters buildings, and recounts.

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: Rep. KILMER. This legislation repeals the last-minute changes to campaign finance law that were tacked into a 1,600-page bill to fund the government. As a result of this legislation, the wealthiest donors can now each contribute more than $750,000 per year to a political party, more than seven times the previous cap. Worst of all, these changes were buried in a bill with no hearing and no public debate. This bill protects the interests of "We the People" and make sure that the wealthiest donors don't get another chance to flood our elections with even more money and to undermine our democracy.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Washington Post article, Oct. 9, 2014): The FEC said that contributions to presidential convention committees will not count against the annual limit on donations to national parties--allowing wealthy donors to double their support for party operations. The FEC's move came in response to a rare joint request by the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, which argued that they needed a new avenue to raise funds for the events after a federal law eliminated public funding for the conventions. But critics of the decision said the FEC created an end-run around federal contribution limits. Under the current rules, individuals can give up to $32,400 per year to a national party committee. Now, donors will be able to give an additional $32,400 each year to a separate committee set up to finance the quadrennial convention. That means that a single donor could give nearly $130,000 to support a party and its convention in a two-year election cycle.

Source: Close the Floodgates Act 15_H154 on Jan 6, 2015

Statehood for the District of Columbia.

Kuster co-sponsored H.R.317

Congressional Summary: Sets forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (DCist.com, Sept. 2014): The Argument Against: Congress does not have the authority to grant statehood to D.C.; the 23rd amendment, which gave D.C. three electoral votes, would have to be repealed before statehood was granted. Washington is a wholly urban, one-industry town, dependent on the federal government far in excess of any other state. Moreover, with Congress no longer having authority over New Columbia but dependent on it, New Columbia could exert influence on the federal government far in excess of any other state.

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: [Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC; the District of Columbia has one representative to Congress and no Senators; Rep. Holmes can introduce bills but her vote does not count]: This 51st state would have no jurisdiction over the federal territory or enclave that now consists of the Washington that Members of Congress and visitors associate with the capital of our country. Those would remain under federal jurisdiction. The New Columbia Admission Act was the first bill I introduced in 1991. Statehood is the only alternative for the citizens of the District of Columbia. To be content with less than statehood is to concede the equality of citizenship that is the birthright of our residents as citizens of the United States.

Source: New Columbia Admission Act 15_H317 on Jan 13, 2015

Automatic voter registration for all citizens.

Kuster co-sponsored H.R.12 & S.1088

Congressional Summary:

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (BrennanCenter.org): Too many Americans go to vote on Election Day only to find their names are not on the voter rolls--often, wrongly deleted. The US is on the verge of a new paradigm for registering voters: automatic, permanent registration of eligible voters, which would add up to 50 million eligible voters to the rolls.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Gov. Christie's veto message on the "Democracy Act", Nov. 2015): Christie called a provision establishing automatic voter registration that requires New Jerseyan to opt out a "government-knows-best, backwards approach that would inconvenience citizens and waste government resources for no justifiable reason." Automatic voter registration would have added 1.6 million people to the state's voter rolls.

Source: Voter Empowerment Act 15-H12 on Mar 19, 2015

2017-18 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Annie Kuster on other issues:
NH Gubernatorial:
Chris Sununu
Colin Van Ostern
Jilletta Jarvis
Maggie Hassan
Molly Kelly
Steve Marchand
NH Senatorial:
Andy Martin
Carol Shea-Porter
Jim Rubens
Karen Testerman
Kelly Ayotte
Maggie Hassan
Scott Brown

Freshman class of 2019:
"Freshman class" means "not in Congress in January 2017", with exceptions:
* Special election, so sworn in prior to Jan. 2019
** Served in Congress in a previous term
*** Lost recount or general election
Freshman class of January 2019 (Republicans):
AZ-8*:Lesko
CA-39***:Kim
FL-6:Waltz ; FL-15:Spano ; FL-17:Steube
GA-7:Woodall
ID-1**:Fulcher
IN-4:Baird
KS-2:Watkins
MN-1:Hagedorn ; MN-8:Stauber
MS-3:Guest
MT-0*:Gianforte
NC-9***:Harris
ND-a:Armstrong
NM-2***:Herrell
OH-6:Gonzalez ; OH-12*:Balderson
OK-1:Hern
PA-9:Meuser ; PA-11:Smucker ; PA-13:Joyce ; PA-14:Reschenthaler
SC-4:Timmons
SD-0:Johnson
TN-2:Burchett ; TN-6:Rose ; TN-7:Green
TX-2:Crenshaw ; TX-3:Taylor ; TX-5:Gooden ; TX-6:Wright ; TX-21:Roy ; TX-27*:Cloud
VA-5:Riggleman ; VA-6:Cline
WI-1:Steil
WV-3:Miller
Freshman class of January 2019 (Democrats):
AZ-2**:Kirkpatrick ; AZ-9:Stanton
CA-49:Levin ; CA-10:Harder ; CA-25:Hill ; CA-39:Cisneros ; CA-45:Porter ; CA-48:Rouda
CO-2:Neguse ; CO-6:Crow
CT-5:Hayes
FL-26:Mucarsel-Powell ; FL-27:Shalala
GA-6:McBath
HI-1**:Case
IA-1:Finkenauer ; IA-3:Axne
IL-4:Garcia ; IL-6:Casten ; IL-14:Underwood
KS-3:Davids
KY-6***:McGrath
MA-3:Trahan ; MA-7:Pressley
MD-6:Trone
ME-2:Golden
MI-8:Slotkin ; MI-9:Levin ; MI-13:Tlaib ; MI-13*:Jones ; MI-11:Stevens
MN-2:Craig ; MN-3:Phillips ; MN-5:Omar
NC-9***:McCready
NH-1:Pappas
NJ-2:Van Drew ; NJ-3:Kim ; NJ-7:Malinowski ; NJ-11:Sherrill
NM-1:Haaland ; NM-2:Torres Small
NV-3:Lee ; NV-4**:Horsford
NY-14:Ocasio-Cortez ; NY-11:Rose ; NY-19:Delgado ; NY-22:Brindisi ; NY-25:Morelle
OK-5:Horn
PA-4:Dean ; PA-5:Scanlon ; PA-6:Houlahan ; PA-7:Wild ; PA-17*:Lamb
SC-1:Cunningham
TX-7:Fletcher ; TX-16:Escobar ; TX-29:Garcia ; TX-32:Allred
UT-4:McAdams
VA-2:Luria ; VA-7:Spanberger ; VA-10:Wexton
WA-8:Schrier
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Page last updated: Dec 26, 2018