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Angus King on Government Reform

Independent Former ME Governor

 


Unaffiliated super PACs exist only in fevered imaginations

Mr. King said he would be on guard for attacks from opponents who use outside groups that are nominally independent to deflect responsibility. "The idea of an unaffiliated 'super PAC' exists only in the fevered imagination of Nino Scalia," he said, spitt
Source: New York Times, "Senate Control Could Hinge on Angus" , May 6, 2012

States Rights: code for 1840s slavery; & 1950s segregation

In the 1840s, you'll find passages eerily similar to what we're hearing today, complete with references to the Second and Tenth Amendments, enumerated powers, the right of secession, and even the Boston Tea Party. I came of age in the South in the 1950s, when exactly the same (and I mean EXACTLY THE SAME) arguments and impassioned rhetoric poured forth in response to the rising tide of the civil rights movement. Yes, the Civil War was about "states' rights," but not as an abstract principle, as some woul argue. It was about a state's right to maintain slavery. Period. If you don't believe me, google "South Carolina Secession Declaration."

By the same token, everyone (on both sides of the civil rights debate) understood that all the state's rights-Tenth Amendment-tyranny of the 1950s federal government rhetoric wasn't being deployed in the service of some abstract principle of federalism: it was all about a state's right to maintain segregation. Period.

And now we're hearing it all again.

Source: Governor`s Travels, by Gov. Angus King, p. 47 , Aug 16, 2011

Restrict and disclose all campaign donations & spending

Q: Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates: Individual?

A: Yes.

Q: PAC?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: Yes. King adds, "I hope to increase education funding, subject to revenue limitations."

Source: Maine Governor 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1998

Reforms must respect state's rights to select electors.

King adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

In the wake of the United States presidential election in Florida, the Congress and the administration has expressed interest in federal standards for elections. Recognizing that Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grants states, not Congress, the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and conducting elections generally, most legislative proposals do not mandate federal standards. Rather, current proposals direct federal agencies or commissions to study and make recommendations concerning the election system. Nonetheless, the possibility of legislation in the 107th Congress requiring states to implement federal election standards remains. If enacted without adequate funding by the federal government, such legislation could also result in an unfunded mandate to the states.

NGAís Position

Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grant states the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and provide that states are responsible for establishing election procedures generally. However, in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, the nationís Governors recognize the need for election reform. NGA will continue to monitor federal legislation addressing this issue, but has not taken a position in support of or opposition to election reform efforts.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA11 on Aug 1, 2001

Matching fund for small donors, with debate requirements.

King signed Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity 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: S375/H.R.269 14_S375 on Feb 25, 2013

Public financing of federal campaigns by voter vouchers.

King 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_S366 on Feb 4, 2015

Automatic voter registration for all citizens.

King 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-S1088 on Mar 19, 2015

CC:Oppose strict Constitutionalist judges.

King opposes the CC survey question on judicial constitutionalism

The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Appointing Judges Who Will Adhere to a Strict Interpretation of the Constitution' Christian Coalition's self-description: "Christian Voter Guide is a clearing-house for traditional, pro-family voter guides. We do not create voter guides, nor do we interview or endorse candidates."

Source: Christian Coalition Surve 18CC-1a on Jul 1, 2018

Sponsored bill for election holiday & easier voting access.

King co-sponsored For the People Act of 2019

Opposing argument from the Heritage Foundation, 2/1/2019: HR1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process. What HR1 Would Do:

Legislative outcome: Passed House 234-193-5 on 3/8/19; received with no action in Senate thru 12/31/2019

Source: H.R.1 &S.949 19-S949 on Jan 3, 2019

Sponsored bill to expand voter registration and voter access.

King co-sponsored For the People Act

S.1 and H.R.1: For the People Act: This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government:

Sen. John Thune in OPPOSITION (9/22/21): This radical legislation would provide for a massive federal takeover of our electoral system, chill free speech, and turn the Federal Election Commission--the primary enforcer of election law in this country--into a partisan body. This radical legislation would undermine state voter ID laws and make it easier for those here illegally to vote.

And, most of all, it would put Washington, not state governments, in charge of elections--for no reason at all. There is no systemic problem with state election laws. And state election officials do not need Washington bureaucrats dictating how many days of early voting they should offer, or how they should manage mail-in ballots.

Biden Administration in SUPPORT (3/1/21): In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy, a never before seen effort to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the people, and a newly aggressive attack on voting rights taking place right now all across the country, this landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen American democracy.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 220-210-2 on March 3, 2021 (rollcall #62); received in the Senate on March 11; no further Senate action during 2021.

Source: S.1/H.R.1 21-HR1 on Jan 4, 2021

Remove President Trump from office for inciting insurrection.

King voted YEA removing President Trump from office for inciting insurrection

GovTrack.us summary of H.Res.24: Article of Impeachment Against Former President Donald John Trump:

The House impeached President Trump for the second time, charging him with incitement of insurrection. The impeachment resolution accused the President of inciting the violent riot that occurred on January 6, when his supporters invaded the United States Capitol injuring and killing Capitol Police and endangering the safety of members of Congress. It cites statements from President Trump to the rioters such as `if you don`t fight like hell you`re not going to have a country anymore,` as well as persistent lies that he won the 2020 Presidential election.

Legislative Outcome:

Bill introduced Jan 11, 2021, with 217 co-sponsors; House rollcall vote #117 passed 232-197-4 on Jan. 13th (a YES vote in the House was to impeach President Trump for inciting insurrection); Senate rollcall vote #59 rejected 57-43-0 on Feb. 13th (2/3 required in Senate to pass; a YES vote in the Senate would have found President Trump guilty, but since he had already left office at that time, a guilty verdict would have barred Trump from running for President in the future)

Source: Congressional vote 21-HR24S on Jan 11, 2021

Voted YES on two articles of impeachment against Trump.

King voted YEA Impeachment of President Trump

RESOLUTION: Impeaching Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.

    ARTICLE I: ABUSE OF POWER: Using the powers of his high office, Pres. Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 US Presidential election. He did so through a course of conduct that included
  1. Pres. Trump--acting both directly and through his agents--corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph Biden; and a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine--rather than Russia--interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election.
  2. With the same corrupt motives, Pres. Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested: (A) the release of $391 million that Congress had appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression; and (B) a head of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine sought.
  3. Faced with the public revelation of his actions, Pres. Trump ultimately released the [funds] to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.
These actions were consistent with Pres. Trump`s previous invitations of foreign interference in US elections.
    ARTICLE II: OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS:
  1. Pres. Trump defied a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought [by Congress];
  2. defied lawful subpoenas [for] the production of documents and records;
  3. and directed current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees.
These actions were consistent with Pres. Trump`s previous efforts to undermine US Government investigations into foreign interference in US elections.
Source: Congressional vote ImpeachK on Dec 18, 2019

Other candidates on Government Reform: Angus King on other issues:
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