Amy Klobuchar on Government Reform

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United

What is making a case for progress about? That is what unites us, which is campaign finance reform. That means passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. It means making the first bill we pass when I am president will be HR1 which is the ethics reform passed in the house, which is currently sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk. If you don't think we can get this done, we can, but not by arguing with each other but by finding what united us in getting it done.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

Q [to Tom Steyer]: You have spent over $300 million of your own money in support of your political goals. How do you respond to critics who see you as the embodiment of a special interest?

Tom STEYER: I've put together coalitions of ordinary American citizens to take on unchecked corporate power. We have a broken government in Washington, D.C. It's been purchased by corporations. Over the last decade, with the help of the American people, we have taken on and beaten the oil companies, the tobacco companies, utilities, drug companies.

Amy KLOBUCHAR: I'm someone that doesn't come from money, and I appreciate the work of Mr. Steyer. But right now, we have a system that's not fair. I would start a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That's what we should do, so that we stop this dark money and outside money from coming into our politics.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Experience is needed to get voter rights passed

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: With the White House in the right hands, we can make Election Day a federal holiday. We can use carrots and sticks to induce states to do the right thing with automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, making it easier for people to vote and, in particular, recognizing that we cannot allow the kind of racially motivated or partisan voter suppression or gerrymandering that often dictates the outcome of elections before the voting even begins.

Senator Amy Klobuchar: I agree with what the mayor has said, but this is a good example where he has said the right words, but I have the experience. I think this kind of experience matters. I think having that experience, knowing how you can get things done, leading the bills to take the social media companies to task, to say where these ads come from and how they're paid for, and stop the unbelievable practice where we still have 11 states that don't have backup paper ballots.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Register all to vote; ban gerrymandering and voter purges

I have led the way on voting. One solution that would make a huge difference would be to allow every kid in the country to register to vote when they turn 18. If we had a system like this, and we did something about gerrymandering, and we stopped the voting purges, and we did something significant about making sure we don't have money in politics from the outside, Stacey Abrams would be governor of this state right now.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Russia didn't just meddle in our election; they invaded it

Q: Your response to Putin and Russia?

CEO Andrew Yang: We have to let Russia know, "Look, we get it. We've tampered with other elections. You've tampered with our elections. And now it has to stop."

Senator Klobuchar: I don't see a moral equivalency between our country and Russia. Vladimir Putin is someone who has shot down planes over Ukraine, who has poisoned his opponent, and we have not talked about what we need to do to protect ourselves from Russia invading our election. This wasn't meddling--that's what I do when I call my daughter on a Saturday night and ask her what she's doing. This was much more serious than that. This was actually invading our election. So to protect ourselves in 2020, we need backup paper ballots in every single state. And then we need to stop the social media companies from running paid political ads, without having to say where those ads came from and who paid for them. That's the Honest Ads Act, that's a bipartisan bill that I lead.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Pass Equality Act by marshalling public support

Q: What would be your strategy for getting support from Congress from members who are not pro-LGBT?

KLOBUCHAR: It is time to pass the Equality Act. Our problem is you can get married in one state and then you can get fired from your job for being gay. That's why the Equality Act is so important. It's passed the House. It is sitting in the graveyard of legislation that is Mitch McConnell's desk. What I would do to get it passed is to bring people together to make the case for it.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall , Oct 10, 2019

Election Security Act: mandate paper ballots

Klobuchar on Election Security: Mandate paper ballots.

11 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Cory Booker; Julian Castro; Tulsi Gabbard; Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren.

Candidates who back federal legislation that would require states use paper ballots, which election security experts overwhelmingly consider the most secure form of voting. That mandate is part of the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act of 2019, which Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), one of the most vocal advocates in Congress for greater election security, introduced in May. His bill would also require that states conduct post-election risk-limiting audits.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has her own legislation, the Election Security Act of 2019, that would, among other things, also mandate paper ballots.

H.R. 1, the sweeping House reform bill, would also require paper ballots, but does not require that states conduct audits after elections.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Automatically register citizens to vote when they turn 18

Amy Klobuchar is trying to lay claim to the moderate middle. But that can be a tough sell, particularly when many of her rivals are touting big-ticket progressive goals like universal healthcare, free college education and aggressive attempts to address income inequality.

Her big idea: She offered a number of proposals during her time on stage [at the SXSW conference]--bringing broadband to rural areas, lowering prescription drug prices and some kind of transactional tax on technology companies that sell information about their users. When I asked her to name her top idea, she opted for one she hadn't mentioned--passing a law automatically registering all citizens to vote when they turn 18.

Her biggest obstacle: Raising the massive amount of money to fund a presidential campaign was her biggest obstacle, she told me. Allegations that she has been verbally abusive towards her Senate staff have dogged the early days of her campaign, however.

Source: BBC.com on 2020 Democratic primary contenders at 2019 SXSW , Mar 12, 2019

Honest Ads Act: no more foreign meddling in elections

Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with former Arizona Sen. John McCain and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in response to Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The bill requires advertisement buys and publishers to publicly disclose information about the ad in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 10, 2019

Washington’s pay to play system hurts the middle class

This week, David Safavian, the former director of procurement policies at the White House budget office will go on trial for involvement in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal. US. Amy Klobuchar comments, “These latest allegations of corruption in Washington should be a wakeup call for lawmakers of both political parties. While we always presume the accused are innocent until proven guilty, the problems of money and political power in Washington must not be swept under the rug.

”People in positions of power & privilege can’t be above the law. As a chief prosecutor, I’ve approached my job without fear or favor. That means taking on powerful people like CEOs, a judge, and white collar criminals, just as we would any other offender.

“It’s time for the people of Minnesota to send a clear message to politicians who have taken part in the ‘pay to play’ system that rewards powerful interests and hurts the middle class. If Washington won’t change itself, it’s time for us to change Washington.”

Source: Press release, “Washington Corruption” , May 22, 2006

Institute MN-style restrictions on lobbyist-funded gifts

Klobuchar issued the following statement about yesterday’s House of Representatives vote for a weak lobbying reform bill: “I am deeply disappointed by last night’s House vote on ethics reform. Despite lots of tough talk, members decided to do what was easy rather than what was right. When it comes to standing up to special interests and cleaning up Washington, Minnesota voters are ready for real change. Now, to restore the public’s faith in government, we need leaders who aren’t afraid to do what I’ve done as a prosecutor: take on powerful special interests and put people first.“

Klobuchar favors stronger ethics reform, including aggressive Minnesota-style restrictions on lobbyist-funded gifts, perks, and travel, as well as tougher provisions to limit the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying world. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call said, ”This bill all but shouts to voters that the GOP is not serious about reform & that it values its ties to K Street more than the public’s trust.“

Source: Press release, “Get Serious on Lobbying Reform” , May 4, 2006

Voted YES on Congressional pay raise.

Congressional Summary:
    Makes appropriations to the Senate for FY2010 for:
  1. expense allowances;
  2. representation allowances for the Majority and Minority Leaders;
  3. salaries of specified officers, employees, and committees (including the Committee on Appropriations);
  4. agency contributions for employee benefits;
  5. inquiries and investigations;
  6. the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control;
  7. the Offices of the Secretary and of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate;
  8. miscellaneous items;
  9. the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account; and
  10. official mail costs.
Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriation Act of 1968 to increase by $50,000 the gross compensation paid all employees in the office of a Senator. Increases by $96,000 per year the aggregate amount authorized for the offices of the Majority and Minority Whip.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D, FL-20): We, as Members of Congress, have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that work for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. SCALISE (R, LA-1): It's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7%, and it's not allowed to be debated on this House floor. Some of their Members actually used the term "nonsense" and "foolishness" when describing our amendments to cut spending; they call that a delaying tactic. Well, I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Every dollar we spend from today all the way through the end of this year is borrowed money. We don't have that money. We need to control what we're spending.

Reference: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act; Bill HR2918&S1294 ; vote number 2009-S217 on Jul 6, 2009

Voted YES on providing a US House seat for the District of Columbia.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): I am cosponsoring the legislation to provide a House seat for DC and an additional House seat for Utah. Representation and suffrage are so central to the American system of self-government that America's founders warned that limiting suffrage would risk another revolution and could prevent ratification of the Constitution. The Supreme Court held in 1820 that Congress' legislative authority over DC allows taxation of DC. Do opponents of giving DC a House seat believe that DC is suitable for taxation but not for representation?

Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I make a constitutional point of order against this bill on the grounds that it violates article I, section 2, of the Constitution. I appreciate the frustration felt by the residents of DC at the absence of a vote in Congress. According to many experts, DC is not a State, so therefore is not entitled to that representation. Also, one has to raise the obvious question: If DC is entitled to a Representative, why isn't Puerto Rico, which would probably entail 9 or 10 Members of Congress? [With regards to the seat for Utah], this is obviously partisan horse-trading.

Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act; Bill S.160 ; vote number 2009-S073 on Feb 26, 2009

Voted YES on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress.

Cloture vote on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act:[Washington DC currently has a "delegate" to the US House, whose vote does not count. Utah had complained that the 2000 census did not count many Utahns on Mormon missions abroad].

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. BYRD: In 1978, I voted for H.J. Res. 554, that proposed amending the Constitution to provide for representation of D.C. [That amendment passed the Senate but was not ratified by the States]. While I recognize that others believe that the Constitution authorizes the Congress to "exercise exclusive legislation" over D.C., the historical intent of the Founders on this point is unclear. I oppose S.1257, because I doubt that our Nation's Founding Fathers ever intended that the Congress should be able to change the text of the Constitution by passing a simple bill.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. HATCH. There are conservative and liberal advocates on both sides of this issue,and think most people know Utah was not treated fairly after the last census. For those who are so sure this is unconstitutional, [we include an] expedited provision that will get us to the Supreme Court to make an appropriate decision. It will never pass as a constitutional amendment. There are 600,000 people in D.C., never contemplated by the Founders of this country to be without the right to vote. They are the only people in this country who do not have a right to vote for their own representative in the House. This bill would remedy that situation.

Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act; Bill S. 1257 ; vote number 2007-339 on Sep 18, 2007

Voted NO on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections.

Vote on Dole Amdt. S.2350, amending SP2350 (via the College Cost Reduction Act): To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require individuals voting in person to present photo identification.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. DOLE. 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.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. FEINSTEIN. If one would want to suppress the vote in the 2008 election, one would vote for 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]. I urge a "no" vote.

Reference: Dole Amendment to the Help America Vote Act; Bill S.2350, amending SP2350 ; vote number 2007-269 on Jul 19, 2007

Require full disclosure of independent campaign expenditures.

Klobuchar co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act

Congressional Summary:

Wikipedia & OnTheIssue Summary: