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Martin Sabo on Government Reform

Former Democrat/Farmer/Labor Representative (MN-5, 1979-2007)


Voted NO on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.

Requires that to vote in federal elections, an individual present a government-issued, current, and valid photo identification. After 2010, that ID must require providing proof of US citizenship as a condition for issuance. An individual who does not present such an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, and then present the required ID within 48 hours. Exempts from this requirement the absentee ballot of any eligible overseas military voter on active duty overseas.

Proponents support voting YES because:

The election system is the bedrock that our Republic is built on and its security and oversight is of paramount concern. Only US citizens have the right to vote in Federal elections, but our current system does not give State election officials the tools they need to ensure that this requirement is being met.

This bill is designed to increase participation by ensuring that each legitimate vote will be counted and not be diluted by fraud. There are many elections in this country every cycle that are decided by just a handful of votes. How can we be certain that these elections, without measures to certify the identity of voters, are not being decided by fraudulent votes?

Opponents support voting NO because:

There is something we can all agree on: only Americans get to vote, and they only get to vote once. But what we are talking about in this bill is disenfranchising many of those Americans. It is already a felony for a non-American to vote. We had hearings and what we found out was that the issue of illegal aliens voting basically does not occur.

The impact of this will disproportionately affect poor people and African Americans, because many are too poor to have a car and they do not have a license. We have no evidence there is a problem. We have ample evidence that this will disenfranchise many Americans. This is the measure to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans. It is wrong and we will not stand for it.

Reference: Federal Election Integrity Act; Bill H R 4844 ; vote number 2006-459 on Sep 20, 2006

Voted NO 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 NO 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 NO 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 YES 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 NO 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 YES 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

    Allow same-day voter registration on election day.

    Sabo co-sponsored the Same Day Voter Registration Act

    To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to require States to permit individuals to register to vote in an election for Federal office on the date of the election.

    Source: Bill sponsored by 27 Reps 01-HR128 on Jan 3, 2001

    2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Martin Sabo on other issues:
    MN Gubernatorial:
    Mark Dayton
    MN Senatorial:
    Al Franken
    Amy Klobuchar

    Dem. Freshmen
    in 112th Congress:

    AL-7:Terri Sewell
    CA-33:Karen Bass
    DE-0:John Carney
    FL-17:Frederica Wilson
    HI-1:Colleen Hanabusa
    LA-2:Cedric Richmond
    MA-10:Bill Keating
    MI-13:Hansen Clarke
    RI-1:David Cicilline
    GOP Freshmen
    in 112th Congress:

    AL-2:Martha Roby
    AL-5:Mo Brooks
    AZ-1:Paul Gosar
    AZ-3:Ben Quayle
    AZ-5:David Schweikert
    AR-1:Rick Crawford
    AR-2:Tim Griffin
    AR-3:Steve Womack
    CA-19:Jeff Denham
    CO-3:Scott Tipton
    CO-4:Cory Gardner
    FL-12:Dennis Ross
    FL-2:Steve Southerland
    FL-21:Mario Diaz-Balart
    FL-22:Allen West
    FL-24:Sandy Adams
    FL-25:David Rivera
    FL-5:Rich Nugent
    FL-8:Dan Webster
    GA-2:Mike Keown
    GA-7:Rob Woodall
    GA-8:Austin Scott
    ID-1:Raul Labrador
    IL-8:Joe Walsh
    IL-10:Bob Dold
    IL-11:Adam Kinzinger
    IL-14:Randy Hultgren
    IL-17:Bobby Schilling
    IL-8:Joe Walsh
    IN-3:Marlin Stutzman
    IN-4:Todd Rokita
    IN-8:Larry Bucshon
    IN-9:Todd Young
    KS-1:Tim Huelskamp
    KS-3:Kevin Yoder
    KS-5:Mike Pompeo
    LA-3:Jeff Landry
    MD-1:Andy Harris
    MI-1:Dan Benishek
    MI-2:Bill Huizenga
    MI-3:Justin Amash
    MI-7:Tim Walberg
    MN-8:Chip Cravaack
    MO-4:Vicky Hartzler
    MO-7:Billy Long
    MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
    MS-4:Steven Palazzo
    GOP Freshmen
    in 111th Congress:

    NC-2:Renee Ellmers
    ND-0:Rick Berg
    NH-2:Charlie Bass
    NH-1:Frank Guinta
    NJ-3:Jon Runyan
    NM-2:Steve Pearce
    NV-3:Joe Heck
    NY-13:Michael Grimm
    NY-19:Nan Hayworth
    NY-20:Chris Gibson
    NY-24:Richard Hanna
    NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle
    NY-29:Tom Reed
    OH-1:Steve Chabot
    OH-15:Steve Stivers
    OH-16:Jim Renacci
    OH-18:Bob Gibbs
    OH-6:Bill Johnson
    OK-5:James Lankford
    PA-10:Tom Marino
    PA-11:Lou Barletta
    PA-3:Mike Kelly
    PA-7:Patrick Meehan
    PA-8:Mike Fitzpatrick
    SC-1:Tim Scott
    SC-3:Jeff Duncan
    SC-4:Trey Gowdy
    SC-5:Mick Mulvaney
    SD-0:Kristi Noem
    TN-3:Chuck Fleischmann
    TN-4:Scott DesJarlais
    TN-6:Diane Black
    TN-8:Stephen Fincher
    TX-17:Bill Flores
    TX-23:Quico Canseco
    TX-27:Blake Farenthold
    VA-2:Scott Rigell
    VA-5:Robert Hurt
    VA-9:Morgan Griffith
    WA-3:Jaime Herrera
    WI-7:Sean Duffy
    WI-8:Reid Ribble
    WV-1:David McKinley
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    Page last updated: Mar 10, 2011