Michael Bennet on Government Reform

Democratic Presidential Challenger; CO Senator


Mandate paper ballots

Bennet on Election Security: Mandate paper ballots.

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

Election security experts overwhelmingly consider paper ballots the most secure form of voting. That mandate is part of the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act, which would also require post-election risk-limiting audits.

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

Overcome structural corruption in voting rights

Q:Will a Democratic president in 2021 make is going to magically disappear?

Bennet: Gridlock will not magically disappear as long as Mitch McConnell is there. That's why it is important for us to win the Senate as well. We need to end gerrymandering. We need to overturn Citizens United. The attack on voting rights in Shelby v. Holder is something we need to deal with. We face structural problems that we have to overcome. We need to expand people's right to get to the polls.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Change corruption in DC; restore relationships with allies

We have to restore our democracy at home. We have a president who doesn't believe in the rule of law, in freedom of the press, in an independent judiciary. He believes in the corruption that he's brought to Washington.

We've got to restore the relationships that he's destroyed with our allies, not just in Europe. When you've got a president who says something happened and the world doesn't know whether to believe it, that is a huge problem when it comes to national security.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Citizens United has taken America down a dangerous road

The court has in essence treated the spending of money as a form of speech. In Citizens United, the court wrote that "it is our law and our tradition that more speech, not less, is the government rule." This line of reasoning leads to the inevitable conclusion that more money, not less, should be the governing rule in our democracy--and should in fact be welcomed. That is the opposite of what most voters believe. I have yet to meet a single American who believes that the problem with our politics is that there is not enough money in it.

Citizens United has taken America down a dangerous road. And it has become more dangerous still. After the Supreme Court struck down limits on what outside groups could spend, lower courts used the same logic to strike down limits on individual contributions to these groups. Money could now make its way unhindered into the coffers of two of the most corrosive entities in modern politics: dark-money groups and super PACs.

Source: Land of Flickering Lights, by Michael Bennet, p. 88-9 , Jun 25, 2019

Congress must investigate Russian election tampering

Congress's business here is not doing a criminal investigation. This is about understanding how profoundly serious the Russian's interference in our elections were in 2016, an interference that the President of the United States refuses to acknowledge. I know the President and his attorney general and allies would like to just wish the report away, I think that Congress has an important oversight role to perform here, including the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interviews of presidential hopefuls , May 12, 2019

Federal review voting of discriminatory state voting changes

Q: On Campaign Finance: Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, which requires key funders of political ads to put their names on those ads?

Bennet: Yes

Glenn: No visible stand.

Q: On Campaign Finance: Support Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?

Bennet: No. Wants to overturn.

Glenn: No visible stand, but likely yes. Supports unlimited contributions by individuals.

Q: On Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such as voter ID requirements or reduced registration times, even if they prevent some people from voting?

Bennet: No. Co-sponsored Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore federal oversight of voting laws. Co-sponsored Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore federal courts' ability to review voting changes made at the state and local level and monitor for discriminatory practices.

Glenn: Unknown

Source: CampusElect Voter Guide to 2016 Colorado Senate race , Oct 9, 2016

Constitutional amendment tooverturn Citizens United

Q: How would you address money in politics?

Bennet: cosponsored a constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn Citizens United and restore common-sense regulation to our campaign finance system. I've also long been a cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would help bring transparency to political spending. And I've introduced legislation to prohibit solicitation of campaign contributions from lobbyists while Congress is in session, and eliminate lobbyist bundling.

Source: LWV's Vote411.org on 2016 Colorado Senate Race , Sep 19, 2016

Voted NO 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

Require Internet disclosure of all earmarks.

Bennet signed H.R.5258& S.3335

    The website shall be comprised of a database including the following information, in searchable format, for each earmark:
  1. The fiscal year in which the item would be funded.
  2. The number of the bill or joint resolution for which the request is made, if available.
  3. The amount of the initial request made by the Member of Congress.
  4. The amount approved by the committee of jurisdiction.
  5. The amount carried in the bill or joint resolution (or accompanying report) as passed.
  6. The name of the department or agency, and the account or program, through which the item will be funded.
  7. The name and the State or district of the Member of Congress who made the request.
  8. The name and address of the intended recipient.
  9. The type of organization (public, private nonprofit, or private for profit entity) of the intended recipient.
  10. The project name, description, and estimated completion date.
  11. A justification of the benefit to taxpayers.
  12. Whether the request is for a continuing project and if so, when funds were first appropriated for such project.
  13. A description, if applicable, of all non-Federal sources of funding.
  14. Its current status in the legislative process
Source: Earmark Transparency Act 10-HR5258 on May 11, 2010

Require full disclosure of independent campaign expenditures.

Bennet co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act

Congressional Summary:

Wikipedia & OnTheIssue Summary: