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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 1, 2014 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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majority of republicans, support a $10.10 wage increase. tim pawlenty, former governor tim pawlenty, former governor the former governor of minnesota told his colleagues support the wage. when you have a few small interest groups holding as back, shame. so i would urge my republican colleagues to look at our economy and let them look into their hearts. i am confident that if they did that there would have a change of heart and let us bring this and let us pass this bill. and will serve one thing, madam president, if we don't succeed this time, we believe strongly in a fair shot for everybody, including those who are paid minimum wage and work hard and long. we will bring this this bill to the floor again and again and again. just like unemployment insurance, or later we will get
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it done. we will hit it done. the american dream, a fair shot for everyone, demands no less. i yield the floor. >> how much time do we have left ? >> there is eight minutes remaining on the democratic side . >> madame president in a few moments we will vote here on the president's and whether we will bring the minimum wage bill to the floor and of both, and a few minutes it will be clear where each senator stands, who in this chamber is going to stand with millions of americans who work full-time for a living but are left in poverty or the brink of poverty struggling to make ends meet. who is going to vote to give these good people of fair shot at the american dream and who is going to vote against them?
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we are going to find out and just a few minutes. there is no question that working families need a race. a 14 million children in america , one in every five family would get a wage under our minimum wage bill. businesses need a raise. over 600 economists, seven nobel prize-winning economists have said a lack of demand is what is hurting businesses in america. people don't have enough money go buy things. businesses need customers. you raise the minimum wage, the people that are getting the way john not going to go to paris, france. they will spend it right on main street which is what our business needs. our economy needs to raise. and businesses do better they hire more workers, had jobs, and it generates economic growth. people in poverty definitely need to raise. this bill will with an estimated
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7 million people out of poverty , all working families need a race. some of my friends on the republican side say, not all of this goes to people in poverty. that is absolutely true because 12 million people who have family income between 20,060,000 will also get a raise. what is wrong with that? these hard working families need to be able to, you know, put money aside for rennie jacque, provide for each jet children's education, maybe buy a new car. what is wrong with that. so this helps a lot of american families get a fair shot at the american dream. i might just add, taxpayers need a raise in the minimum wage. social programs to help families
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who are struggling to make ends meet through our low income or poverty. it is estimated the minimum-wage bill that we have will save over four and a half billion dollars a year in money we will not have to pay for food stamps. people will have the money, go out and buy their own food and will not need food stamps for. again, any way you look at it we need to raise the minimum wage. i want to pick up where the senator left off, this is about real people, not some abstract thing. this right here, a wonderful woman from iowa who came to testify before our committee. she has four boys, moved north from another state, she was in an abusive relationship.
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so she moved with her four boys. she testified. she works at a fast-food restaurant and makes $7.65 an hour. she has four boys, as i said. she is an amazing woman. she rides the bus 20 miles to work each way every day to get to work. she wants to work full-time, but the bus, which calls for $10 a day only runs until 3:00 p.m. she has to lead by then. wages are so low that every day she has the teller children they cannot have things that there friends have, cannot play certain sport, cannot all get a haircut at the same time, cannot buy shoes at the same time because she cannot afford it. she does not want to be on government assistance, but she has to be. she is participating in a program to help her achieve self-sufficiency and get off the system because she wants to support herself through her own
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work. her own words, if the minimum wage increase it would be helpful to my family. i would see more reductions in public assistance and food assistance and see another increase in rent, but that would be okay. i would have more money overall, and it would come from my own hard work. my family would be better off. i want to work and stand on my own 2 feet. i work hard, and i believe i am worth $10.10 an hour. if you can move forward with the increase in the minimum wage, my family will be more successful in reaching our goal of a better life. these are real people that will be helped by increasing the minimum wage. i have listened to a lot of the debate here on the floor, objections from my friends on the republican side and have heard a lot of talk about the keystone pipeline and high-paying jobs it would create
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i don't doubt that it would. but unless people are ready to pick up and move and become a petroleum engineer it will not help her one bit. i have not heard one offer from the other side that would be a single solution that would help her life be better. the keystone pipeline is not going to help a fast-food worker who works hard every day. it will not put food on her table, a helper boys, get a hair cut, buy a pair of shoes, buy a computer. in minimum wage increase will do that. a minimum-wage increase will give felicia race. so the american people are calling for us to pass this bill desperately, desperately. the time has come. in fact, it is past time to do the right thing.
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the morally : -- correct thing to raise the minimum wage. the time has come to give realistic, not false hope, but realistic hope to people like felicia and so many people in our country who work hard every day, millions of working americans, to give them a realistic hope that our economic system is not going to continue to lead them further and further behind. it is time to say yes, to give a fair shot to the american dream, to being a part of the middle class to millions of hard-working but low-paid americans. the time has come to raise the minimum wage madam president, i yield. >> madam president, i want to comment on the vote that we took earlier today on whether or not to proceed to a bill that would
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increase the minimum wage to of $10.10 and our. now, madam president, it has been several years since we increased the minimum wage. i support an increase in the minimum wage, but i do not believe that at a time when our economy is so fragile as is indicated by have very low increase in gdp that was reported this morning that we can afford to increase the minimum wage by some 39%. i would note, madam president, just a year ago president obama was suggesting that we should increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour. i do not see any change in the economic conditions that would
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have cost him to abruptly change his position and now be advocating $10.10 an hour. i know, madam president, that there are many low income families that are really struggling in this country, and i believe that our economy could accommodate an increase in the minimum wage, but the congressional budget office, the non-partisan entity has told us that the consequences of going to $10.10 it an hour would be a loss of some 500,000 jobs at a time when our economy simply cannot afford that kind of loss. now, i have tried with numerous employers in maine.
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they cared deeply about their employees. today, in most cases, are willing and able to pay more. in fact, many of them do pay more. all of them pay more in the federal minimum wage because the minimum wage in maine is $7.50 per hour rather than $7.25 an hour. we are already above the federal minimum wage. but what they told me is that if there is too much of an increase to rapidly they will be forced to shrink their work forces or not bring on those summer part-time employees, high-school students, college students, individuals who do not have the training and experience that is necessary to be productive in that job for which they are hired at that time.
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madam president, there is a huge area of compromise available here between $7.25 and $10.10. and i think it speaks to what is wrong with washington today that we grew -- we were placed in a situation where it was take it or leave it rather than an hour trying to come together and offer amendments and debate to the levels that might be acceptable to members of this body and to our colleagues in the house, a level that would not cause dramatic job losses, which was -- which would hurt the very people we are trying to help and get it would recognize that we do need to increase the
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minimum wage by a reasonable amount to help struggling, low-income families. madam president, i have to express my disappointment and frustration that we cannot see to have a normal legislative process where ideas could be offered as amendments, as compromises between $7.25 and $10.10, where members could bring other ideas to the floor on how we might spur job creation, on how we could improve job-training programs which is a huge issue in this country. i have talked to so many employers in maine, particularly in the trades that have jobs available but cannot find the
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skilled workers to fill those jobs. i had a terrific and enlightening meeting with representatives who told me that we need to do a better job at our community colleges in training workers for the great jobs, far above minimum wage, that exists in my state. so there are so many ideas out there that would help us improve the financial conditions of our low-income families from increasing the minimum wage by an amount that does not cause massive job losses to improving our job-training programs so that we can fix this mismatch between the jobs that are available and the skills that our workers have.
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i would note that the department of commerce secretary testified that there are 4 million jobs that are on failed nationwide because of bad mismatch in available jobs and the skills needed to fill them. there are other proposals to give tax incentives to small businesses. we have a lot of very important tax incentives that encouraging hiring at the end of last year. the work opporunity tax credit expired. why not expand -- extend that not only to those groups to qualify now, but also to people who have been unemployed for a long time, to the encourage employers to take a chance on them, to bring them into the work force where they want to be we could also include other provisions, for example, i have a bipartisan bill that senator
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donnelly and mansion and members from my side of the aisle that would fix the definition of full-time work under obamacare so that it would be 40 hours per week and not 30 hours per week. we would go back to the standard definition of 40 hours per week. there are tax incentives having to do with bonus depreciation and small business expenses that would encourage small businesses to make the investments of that they can hire more employees. madam president, we ought to have a full debate on all of these options, not just stop with one vote on whether or not to proceed to one bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 with no amendments allowed, with no alternative proposals being
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permitted. madam president, i believe that if we could get that -- gets back to their normal way of doing business that we would so much better serve the people of this country, including low income workers who are struggling to get by. and i believe that we could come on out with a compromise that would enjoy bipartisan support. i am not saying it would be easy, but we ought to at least try, madam president. i have talked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle who are willing to try, and we need to be given that opportunity, madam president. each and every member in this body cares about individuals who are working two jobs, to
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minimum-wage jobs because they are trying to support their families. i think that we could come together, but we cannot come together unless we are allowed to offer alternatives to fully debate the issues and to bring forth the idea is to improve our job training programs and to encourage the creation of more jobs as well as better paying jobs and white, unfortunately, remains a very anemic economy. thank you, madam president. >> coming up tonight on c-span, the senate committee hears from former supreme court justice john paul stevens on campaign finance rules. it
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>> the house oversight and government reform committee holds a hearing thursday on libya and that 2012 benghazi consulate attack with a newly released white house e-mails showing how the administration shaped its response to the attack. live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span three. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. >> everybody says, how do you think these women came from such a very low part of the world,
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you know, the victorian era is so satisfied, the very rich and the middle class and the real robber baron achievers. the life and times of these women is in the most buccaneer time that you can think of. after the civil war, finances were beginning to become major, rockefeller, all of the robber barons making a lot of money. i think that it was easy for them because they had been running around. there -- they were tough, and they were driven both for power and individualism, but as i say, they could have been kept in a fine manner if they wanted, but they really were pushing for
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their independence and women's independence. >> she argues to that little-remembered victorian sisters changed the course of women's rights in american history sunday night at 8:00 on c-span queue and may. >> wednesday, the senate rules committee held its first hearing on campaign finance in response to the supreme court ruling striking down limits on individual political contributions. former supreme court justice john paul stevens joint current and former federal election commission representatives at this 2-hour hearing. >> i am deeply worried about the future of our democracy. for over 100 years we a struggle about the issue of money in politics always striving to find
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the right balance between freedom of political expression and the corrosive influence of the unchecked flow of money to public officials. we have had periodic scandals and corrections. the have had new laws and new ways to evade those laws, but we have never before seen what is happening today. as we will learn this morning, a perfect storm of new forces, court opinions, clever political operatives, and the high-stakes inherent in governmental decisions have created a qualitatively new political landscape where candidates are compelled to raise more and more money, and yet at the same time have to contend with virtually unlimited spending by chantilly entities representing the most donors. what has occurred in the past five years represents revolutionary, not evolutionary,
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change in the way campaigns are financed in america. these are changes that i view as a threat to undermine the fundamental principle of american democracy, one-person, one-vote. well-intentioned people, people who i respect the believe that restrictions on it and give to campaigns and how much they can give trespass on cherished first amendment freedom of speech protections. others, and i am among them, are worried the reason decision of the elimination of even modest limits on campaign contributions combined of the byzantine system that in too many cases masques disclosure of who is giving the so-called dark money into the process has the very real attention to cover of the integrity of the system itself. historic believed the flow of money has rested in and out of political campaigns on three
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pillars, regulation of sources, regulation of amounts, and disclosure. in recent decisions have severely restricted our ability to control sources and amounts, but in those decisions -- and i'm referring, of course, to citizens united and mceachern, the court has explicitly invited congress to utilize disclosure as the protection of the public interest in these situations. justice kennedy and roberts, and their opinions, site disclosure as the reason that the limitations to not have to be upheld. unfortunately, the disclosure requirements that been mentioned in those opinions as the bulwark against abuse and corruption simply do not exist. for example, according to a new study by the center for responsible politics, total
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independent expenditures reported to the fec by outside groups totals about $70 million to this point. nearly three times more than was spent at this time in 2010. that is a point i want to emphasize. this is not a gradual growth of a change of a few dollars here and there. what we have is an explosion of this kind of money, not only of outside expenditures, but also of the expenditures where we do not know the sores. we created a kind of parallel universe of campaign finance. the traditional candidate-based system with clear limits on sources and amounts and strict disclosure requirements and the independent system with no control of sources, no limits, and no disclosure. naturally this troubling new world of campaign finance impact
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how we, as elected officials, interact with the fund-raising process. quantitatively in the amounts of money, an average u.s. senator -- of course all senators are above average, but an average u.s. senator running for reelection as to raise something on the order of 5-$8,000 per day every day 365 days a year for six years in order to accumulate the funds necessary to run for reelection. i can tell you, at the rate of five to $6,000 per day you quickly run out of friends and family. my concern here is the system. this is not a democratic or republican issue, and the country does not benefit from an undisclosed contribution and an arms race in contributions. disclosure in this context is not an infringement on the first amendment, but what we are
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allowing to happen before our eyes is already having its inevitable effect, the erosion of confidence in our system and in ads as stewards of our country's future. the challenge here, the challenge before us is to find the balance between competing goods, the freedom to exercise our political voice on the one hand and the public interest in safeguarding the integrity of the political process on the other, to restore that balance and what feels like an increasingly unbalanced system. i welcome our witnesses today and look for to their contributions to these important deliberations. senator robb ends. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am pleased to be here today on this very important subject, and i brought my own chart.
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did not have money for another display, so i would ask unanimous consent that we put our chart out. >> without objection. >> the chart bears the text of the first amendment to the constitution of the united states, and i believe that is what we are talking about today. the rights of citizens to express themselves to make their views known on the issues that affect their daily lives and pocketbooks or any other issue they wish to discuss. the first amendment protect those rights and prevents the government from restricting them . the exercise of those rights does not threaten our democracy. it is the attempt to restrict these rights that we must fere. we are living today with the consequences of the failed
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attempt to restrict them. this failure was not hard to foresee. it is not the fault of the courts or the federal election commission. it is the direct consequence of the poor decision congress made when it passed the mccain-feingold bill. i opposed that bill. it would restrict people's rights to participate in the political process. it would simply divert money out of the system to other avenues. supporters of the bill of course denied it and assured us that it would not happen, that our system would be better. it should be clear know who was right and wrong. rather than admit they were wrong the proponents have just proposed new regulations. because the courts have properly found much of their last efforts to be unconstitutional they have proposed new regulatory schemes
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under the guise of disclosure. no longer able to simply prohibit speech, they do not like, they seek to prevent it by imposing onerous disclosure requirements on those who wish to speak. respectfully, as we consider suggestions for ways to improve the system of last people we should be asking for a device at this hearing are those who helped write the law that created the problem in the first place. and let's stop this fool's errand of speech regulation. let's stop trying to stop people from criticizing mass. but stop demonizing citizens to exercise their first amendment rights. we have nothing to fear from offering marketplace of ideas. we do, however, need to fear a government empowered to investigate its own citizens for exercising their rights.
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the revelations of the internal revenue service targeting of conservative groups and others have shown this to be a real danger. we hear a lot about corruption when this issue is debated. i think for many people the definition of corruption is the promotion of ideas with which they disagree. it is amazing how, for years, george soros has been spending millions of dollars to promote liberal and progressive, -- causes. none of my friends on the other side of the aisle seem to be concerned about it. now that the koch family is spending money to promote free market and private enterprise we are supposed to believe our free market is at risk. that is absurd. corporate spending is supposed to be a concern that corporations have long exercised unfettered right to express themselves. provided they were media corporations. i am pleased to say that the citizens united case changed
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that. the supreme court recognized the first amendment does not allow this congress to choose who gets to speak and properly ended this nonsensical distinction with the only consequence being that now more voices are heard. i no -- i no there are some in this body who do not want those voices to be heard, and they are doing everything they can to silence them. our majority leader, unfortunate , who has a fixation with the koch family that can only be described as this art takes to the floor and in almost daily basis to attack the. i think he fears they pose a threat to his hold on power. that is why the first amendment begins, congress shall make no law. the first amendment does not allow us to silence those who oppose us. that applies to corporations, labor unions and the koch
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family, everyone. let's stop trying to do so, mr. mr. chairman, once stop trying to impose regulations designed to deter and harass our opponents. instead, let's admit the mistake we made when we tried to regulate political speech in the first place and remove those restrictions and allow those who want to contribute and engage in a political system to give money where they want as long as they follow the law. everyone in this country has the right to express themselves, mr. chairman, even people who do not manage to get themselves invited to appear on television shows or to testify at senate hearings. people from all people, individually and as groups feet of have every right to make their views knows. new restrictions and regulations are not going to improve the
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system. getting rid of those we already have imposed will. that is the course we should take, mr. chairman. simply, let's just do it. thank you for your time. >> senator. >> thank you. first, let me thank you, senator king, for suggesting this hearing and for your chairing the hearing as well as your invitation to justice stevens, who i look forward to hearing from. i think mccutcheon is a real turning point in our debate about money and politics. mccutcheon seems to say that free speech absolutely defined as mccutcheon does allows anyone to spend any amount of money in any way in our political system. mccutcheon carried to its logical extreme will get rid of individual events cannot get rid
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of limits on corporations, will just allow money to totally, totally enveloped our system. it is frightening. it is frightening. the reason we have this hearing is not because of some new advertisements. the koch brothers have been doing ads for years and years, but because of the mccutcheon decision and its implications for our democracy. the bottom line is very simple. i respect my colleagues fidelity to the first amendment, but no amendment is absolute. most of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support anti pornography legislation. that is a limitation on the first amendment. most everyone here believes you cannot falsely screen fire in a crowd. that is a limitation on the first amendment. we have many, many, many different models that those
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limits on the amendments because through 200 some odd years of jurisprudence the founding fathers and supreme court have realized that no amendment, no amendment is absolute. we have noise ordinances. everyone accepts them. that's a limitation. if you impose a of view that just when it comes to allowing one person to put the 701,112 had on television that the first amendment is absolute but in some many other areas it is not, you have to ask why. you have to ask why. when many on the other side of the aisle to not support disclosure, which is actually an enhancement of the first amendment, free debate, free knowledge, one wonders why. one wonders why.
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the first amendment protection of free speech is part of what makes america great. so is the concept of one-person, one-vote. and win a small group of people, 700 in this case who were affected by mccutcheon have so much more power to influence the political process than everyone else our democracy is at risk. that is the problem here. they're is a balancing test. and there are many concepts in the constitution. the concept of having a somewhat level playing field so that those who have overwhelming wealth and choose to spend it, whether they be on the left or the right, the laws we are proposing affect the koch brothers and george soros and should. so because now legislation which
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could bring disclosure but will not stop the path mccutcheon is on, senate democrats are going to vote this year on my colleague, tom udall, constitutional amendment which once and for all would allow congress to make laws to deal with the balance between equality, each note is equal, each person is equal, and the first amendment, a careful balance. not what the five members of the supreme court have said, no balance. we will bring that amendment to the floor shortly, and we will vote on it. and i will be working with center tom udall and majority leader reid and hopefully every republican who cares about honest elections to bring it to the floor this year. when the supreme court or any of
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my colleagues say that the koch brothers' first amendment rights are being deprived, that they are not being heard, it defies common sense. it defies logic. the same applied to some very liberal person who put on 10,000 fans. the ability to be heard is different than the ability to drown out every of a point of view using modern technology simply because you have a lot more money than somebody else who has an equally valid you. i hope that senator tom udall amendment will attract bipartisan support, but it will drop to a fine point where we are at, and that is, that the first amendment is sacred but that the first amendment is not absolute. by making it an absolute you
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actually make it less sacred to most americans. we have to bring some balance to our political system. if people lose faith in the system, which they are rapidly doing in large part because they feel, correctly, that people with a lot of money have far more say in the actual political dialogue than they do, this great democracy could falter. we don't want it to happen. the best way to stop it is to show the supreme court or limit the supreme court and show them that there absolute just view is wrong and support an amendment like the one buy center tom udall. >> for the information of the senators who arrived after my introduction, the schedule we will follow is i will now and by justice stevens to speak. each of you will be asked to provide a statement if you wish to do so.
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justice stevens, if you would join us at the table. >> justice john paul stevens is a retired justice of the united states supreme court, was appointed to the court in 1975 by president gerald ford, i think the third longest sitting justice of the supreme court. justice stevens, i knew that you were a distinguished jurist. my eye was caught by a headline in the paper over the weekend that says, a pope to move john paul for sainthood. i realized later it was not the same john paul, but in any case we are delighted to have you here today. thank you very much for joining as, justice. >> thank you very much, senator. >> center, chairman, ranking member, distinguished members of this committee, i thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the
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important issue of campaign finance. when i last appeared before this body in december of 1975 might confirmation hearings stretched over three days. today i shall spend only a few minutes making five brief points. first, campaign finance is not a partisan issue. for years the court campaign finance jurisprudence has been incorrectly predicate it on the assumption that avoiding corruption or the appearance of corruption is the only justification for regulating campaign speech in the financing of a political campaign. that is quite wrong. we can safely assume that all of our elected representatives and candidates for office are law
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abiding citizens, and the laws against bribery provide an adequate protection against misconduct in office. it is fundamentally wrong to assume that preventing corruption is the only justification for laws limiting the first amendment rights of candidates and their supporters. elections are contests between rival candidates for public office. like rules that govern athletic contests or adversarial litigation, those rules should create a level playing field. the interest in creating a level playing field justifies regulation of campaign speech that does not apply to a speech about general issues that is not designed to affect the outcome of elections. the rules that give rival candidates irrespective of their party and incumbency status and equal opportunity to persuade
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citizens to vote for them , just as procedures and contested litigation regulate speech in order to give adversarial parties a fair and equal opportunity to persuade the decision maker to rule in their favor. rules regulating political campaigns should have the same objective. in elections the decision makers are voters, not judges or jurors, but that does not change the imperative for the equality of opportunity. second, all elected officials will lead happier lives and be better able to perform their public responsibilities if they did not have to spend so much time raising money. at third, rules limiting campaign contributions and expenditures shed recognize the distinction
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between money provided by their constituents and money provided by nonvoters, such as corporations and people living in other jurisdictions. an important recent opinion written by judge cavanaugh of the d.c. circuit and summarily affirmed by the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the federal statute that prohibits foreign citizens from spending money to support or oppose candidates for federal office. while the federal interest in preventing foreigners from taking part in elections in this country justified the financial regulation, it placed no limit on canadians freedom to speak about issues of general interest during world war ii the reason behind the statute would have prohibited japanese agents from
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spending money opposing the reelection of fdr but would not have limited their ability to broadcast propaganda to our troops. similar reasoning would have justified the state of michigan placing restrictions on campaign expenditures made by residents of wisconsin or indiana without curtailing their speech about general issues. voters fundamental right to participate in electing their own political leaders is far more compelling than the right of nonvoters, such as corporations and non-residents to support or oppose candidates for public office. the blooming case illustrates that the interest in protecting campaign speech by nonvoters is less worthy of protection and the interest in protecting speech about general issues. fourth, while money is used to finance beach, money is not
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speech. speeches only one of the activities that are financed by campaign contributions and expenditures. those financial activities should not receive precisely the same constitutional protection as speeches self. after all, campaign funds were used to finance the watergate burglary is, actions that clearly were not protected by the first amendment. fifth, and perhaps the most important thing now want to say, the central error in the campaign finance jurisprudence is the holding in the 1976 case of buckley against vallejo that denies congress the power to impose limitations on campaign expenditures. my friend, justice byron white, was the only member of the court to dissent from that ruling. he was familiar with the
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importance of rules requiring a level playing field. i did not arrive at the court in time to participate in the decision of the but the case, but i have always thought that by rand got it right. after the decision was announced judge wright who was one of the federal judiciary's most ardent supporters of a broad interpretation of the first amendment characterized its ruling on campaign expenditures as, tragically misguided. because that erroneous holding has been consistently followed ever since 1976, we need an amendment to the constitution to correct that a fundamental error i favor the adoption of this simple amendment, neither the first amendment nor any provision of this constitution shall be construed to prohibit the congress or any state from
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imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office or their supporters may spend in election campaigns. i think it wise to include the reasonable -- the word reasonable to ensure that legislatures do not prescribe limits that are so low that incumbents have an unfair advantage or that interfere with the freedom of the press. i have confidence that my former colleagues would not use that word to justify a continuation of the practice of treating any limitation as unreasonable. unlimited campaign expenditures and pare the process of democratic self-government. they create a risk that successful candidates will pay more attention to the interest of nonvoters to provide them with money than to the interest of the voters who elected them. that risk is unacceptable.
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>> mr. justice, thank you for your considered remarks. we appreciate your willingness to share them with us today. thank you. you are excused. in accordance with the process that we discussed at the beginning, i will now turn to senator crews for an opening statement if you choose to make one. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to think justice stevens for being here and joining us. prior to being in the senate has spent much of my professional career as an advocate for the court, and i must say, it is a difference position to be on this side of that day as rather than answering questions from justice stevens. i will note that of all of the justices, justice stevens often disagreed with the position of my client, and there was no justice his questions were more incisive, friendly, and,
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frankly, more dangerous than justice stevens. always with a twinkle and then i'm he would ask a question, counsel, would you agree with this small little thing that if you said yes we're walking down a road that would unravel the entire position of your case. it would nice to -- it is nice to have the get justice with this. i want to thank the witnesses that are here for our second panel. his topic is the topic of great import. the entire bill of rights and first amendment is the most important and foundational right of every other right that is protective of citizens, and i will say that in the issue of campaign finance reform this is, perhaps, the most misunderstood issue in all politics. campaign finance reform restrictions are always pitched as, let's prevent corruption, hold politicians accountable, and they do exactly the opposite
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every single restriction this body puts in place is designed to do one thing, protect incumbent politicians. and it is powerfully get at that because at the end of the day there are three speakers in the political debate, politicians, the media, and the citizens. campaign finance reform is all about silencing number three so that the politicians can speak unimpeded. i will say, there are colleagues of mine in both parties who will stand up and say, these pesky citizens groups keep criticizing me. well, that is the nature of our democratic process. if you choose to run for public office there are 300 million americans who have a right to criticize you all day long and twice on sunday. that is our system was built, and i will tell you this, i am certainly one who will defend the rights of our citizens to speak out, whether i agree with
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their speech or not. the sierra club has an absolute right to defend their views, as does the nra. planned parenthood has an absolute right to defend its right -- views, as does the right to life. that is the way our system operates. campaign finance reform is all about the weather limits, low with of the mets, restrict the speech, restrict the speech. what happens is the only people who can win elections are incumbent politicians because they have armies of lobbyists and entrenched interests that raise the money and find them, and any challenger that comes across has to raise the money. if you don't have an army of thousands upon thousands you cannot effectively challenge an incumbent, and that is not the unintended effect of this law, that is the intended effect. our current system makes no sense. politicians to play games, speak
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-- since they cannot speak directly under the law they simply say, who will britney of this troublesome cleric. a group springs up and speaks. there is some resemblance to what you believe. if they happen to get it wrong there is not a darn thing you can do. a far better system would be to allow individuals, unlimited contributions to candid it's and require immediate disclosure as john stuart mill said, let the marketplace of ideas operate, let more speech counter bad speech rather than this city -- silly game we play right now. i will note, there are a series of canards that it discussed in this issue. the number one canard is money is not speech. we can restrict money because it has nothing to do with speech. that statement is categorically, objectively false.
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money is and has always been used as a critical to los beach, with a publishing books or putting on events or broadcasting over the airwaves i would suggest to each of the witnesses and everyone thinking about this issue, ask yourself one question for every restriction that members of congress or advocates put forth ask yourself one question, would you be willing to apply that same restriction to the new york times? that me note, the new york times as a corporation. everyone says, corporations have no rights. fine. there are some who say let's restrict political speech within 90 days of an election. very well, ben. i you willing to sit in new york times cannot speak about elections within 90 days? if they want to support ten or 11 or 12 they are entitled to do
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so. if you think mccutcheon is wrong , would you be willing to tell the new york times e-mail me speak about nine candidates are on the candidates in new york? those restrictions are obviously unconstitutional and i would ask you what is a corporation like the new york times or cbs or any other media corporation, and congress's view, enjoy greater first amendment rights and individual citizens? our democratic system is broken and grant because politicians in both parties hold on to incumbency. i will say this in closing, i agree very much with the justice hugo black who famously said with regard to the first amendment's, the word congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech means exactly what it says, no law means no law.
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we should be vigorous protecting the rights of individual citizens, to be engaged in the political process, and to hold everyone of us on both sides of the aisle accountable. it is the only thing that kids aren't democratic process working. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator tom udall. >> thank you very much, chairman cain, and good morning. thank you for holding this very important hearing. i wanted thank the witnesses that i no will be here later to discuss what i think is a very, very important topic. let me say to the chairman of the committee, chairman schumer, i appreciate your statement about that we will have a vote this year on a constitutional amendment. i think it is about time. we have had several votes. i think we have one in 97, the one in 2001. these rulings by the supreme court have gone so far that we
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are really right for having a vote and trying to coalesce around something. i know that justice stevens has left, but i want to say the words i had in my statement to him. i am sure it will get to him. as the author, justice stevens, of the descent of citizens united you wrote that, the court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation. i have found myself agreeing with justice stevens. and unfortunately this is another of those times. four years after citizens united the damage continues. the court's decision this month in mccutcheon was one more step in disabling our campaign finance system. it is not crystal clear an amendment to the constitution is necessary to allow meaningful campaign finance rules. i heard chairman schumer talk about the issue of being
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absolute. that is what we are talking about, allowing meaningful campaign finance rules, not in any way of bridging the first amendment. and most americans don't have of limited dollars to spend on elections around the country. they only get their one vote. they can support one candidate, but for the wealthy and the super wealthy mccutcheon says they get so much more. that decision gave them a green light, full speed ahead to donate to an unlimited number of candid it's. now a billionaire in one state gets to influence the elections in 49 other states. under mccutcheon one donor can dole out three and a half million dollars every two years just like that. consider this, an american citizen working full-time making minimum wage would have to work
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239 years to make that kind of money, 239 years. the court has shown a willingness to strike down sensible regulation by a narrow majority and is returning our campaign finance system to watergate-era rules. the same rules that foster corruption, of rage voters, and promoted campaign finance standards in the first place. our campaign finance system was in trouble long before the citizens united and mccutcheon decisions. the court laid the groundwork many years ago. i know justice stevens mentioned this in the case of buckley versus vallejo going all the way back to 1976. the court ruling that restricted independent campaign expenditures violates the first amendment rights of free speech. in effect, money and speech are the same thing.
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this is tortured logic and ignores the reality of political campaigns. the outcome is not surprising, elections have become more about the quantity of cash and less about the quality of ideas. more about special interest and less about public service. we have a broken system based on how deeply flawed premise. that is why i introduced s. j. 19 last june which now has 35 co-sponsors. i think there -- i believe senator cain and senator schumer are both on it. it is similar to a bipartisan recent -- resolutions in previous congresses and actually started with senator stevens to my belief, back in 1983, so it has true bipartisan routes and is consistent with the amendment that justice stevens proposed. it would restore the of the worthy of congress stripped by the court to regulate the raising and spending of money
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for federal campaigns. this would did -- include independent expenditures and allow states to do the same at their level. it would not dictate any specific policies or regulations but allow congress to pass sensible campaign finance reform , reform that would withstand constitutional challenges. in the federalist paper number 49 james madison argued that the u.s. constitution should be amended only -- and he used this term -- only in greek and extraordinary occasions should we go with a constitutional amendment. i agree with him. i also believe that we have reached one of those occasions. free and fair elections are a founding principle of our democracy. they should not be for sale to the highest bidder. they're is a long, and i might add, bipartisan history here.
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many of our predecessors from both parties understand the danger. they knew the corrosive effect money has at and not political system. they spent years championing the cause. in 1983 than 98 congress, senator ted stevens introduced an amendment to overturn buckley , and in every conference from the 909th to the 108 senator fritz hollings introduced bipartisan constitutional amendments similar to mine. senator schumer and cochran continued the effort in the 109th congress, and that was before the sins -- citizens united and mccutcheon decisions, before things went from bad to worse. the out of control spending of for citizens united has further poisoned our elections, but it has also ignited a broad movement to amend the constitution. mccutcheon is the latest misguided decision, but it will
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not be the last. it is time for congress to take back control and pass a constitutional amendment. again, chairmans, i thank you for holding this hearing and i think this is timely on the heels of mccutcheon. >> thank you, senator. if our next panel could take their seats, i will introduce you. we are going to hear from this panel in alphabetical order. first is mr. donald began. previously a commissioner and chairman of the fec and served as the general counsel for the national republican congressional committee for ten years. second is norman ornstein, resident scholar at the american enterprise institute, a well-known columnist and frequent commentator on campaign finance issues. third, mr. trevor potter,
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president counsel for the campaign finance. later served as general counsel to john mccain's 2008 presidential campaign. fourth, ms. ann ravel, former chair of the california fair political practices commission, currently vice chair of the federal election commission. finally, neil reiff who is a founding member of the law firm and a former deputy general counsel for the democratic national committee. thank you all for joining yesterday, and i welcome your opening statements. if you have more lengthy statements, they can be submitted for the record. we look forward to hearing from you. we will discuss these issues. >> chairman, ranking member, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. it is an honor and privilege, particularly in light of the appearance of former justice
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john paul stevens. i have submitted testimony prior to the hearing. mr. neil reiff and i our practitioners and the area of campaign finance and nephews are shaped in decades of experience in advising people who wish to participate in in the complaint manner. although we have similar plans and are not here to represent any of the views of those particular clients, we differ in serious ways. such a partisan difference in the modern world would ordinarily preclude any notion of common ground, but not here. recently we co-authored a article that was published which explains our views on the good, bad, and deadly of the current law, particularly the aspects imposed by the bipartisan reform act passed in 2002, commonly called mccain-feingold. we describe it of what many see as the underlying problem can be traced back to the statute itself. as we predicted, mccain-feingold
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has become heavily regulated candidates and committees taking a back seat. we suggest a different approach, one that flows from a grounding in our first amendment tradition. the need to you directly from the candidates themselves. the candid it voice ought to be a central voice in american democracy. the parties of the that -- best vehicles in achieving that goal, in other words, they echo the candid it's message. our views and suggestions are not designed to transfer relevancy back to the parties or relevance the sake. not nominated by either of the two major parties and is precisely that kind of candidate that has felt the burdens of that rate -- wave of reform the most. we care first and foremost by grass-roots activity by ordinary citizens and believe that mccain-feingold has reached too far into state and local politics and contributed to
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pushing local activists outside the parties. unfortunately current law has placed parties at a competitive disadvantage and federalized basically all state and federal programs, which brings us to the 2014 landscape. direct contribution limits do not match the rate of inflation. for example, the $10,000 state party limit in today's dollars ought to be, if adjusted for inflation, about $48,000. the cost of campaigning has skyrocketed particularly to the cost of television advertising. other prophylactic measures have been struck by the courts except those that limit the ability of political party committees to effectively assist other candidates who are struggling to be heard over groups and party committees historically have been a candid it's a natural ally and significantly diminished and been replaced by an independent super pacs which seems ironic. some plan more disclosure is the
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answer this is not the answer. judicial review in a more limited form than that which was originally passed, the disclosure has had a mixed record in the courts, sometimes upheld but often struck or limited. depending on which president to look at disclosure has its limitations. as justice john paul stevens himself said writing for the court's majority in mcintyre versus ohio, in the is a shield from the tyranny of majority and thus exemplifies the tierney behind the bill of rights and the first amendment in particular. justice john paul stevens also said, the freedom to publish amount -- anonymously extends beyond the political realm. quite apart from any threat of persecution and advocate may believe ideas are more persuasive if the readers are unaware of the writer's identity
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and to enjoy that readers will not prejudge the message simply because they do not like the proponent . persuading the most effective advocates who have sometimes opted for anonymity. and mccutcheon vs. fec, we anticipate that mccutcheon will help address the and fans to some degree, but it did not strike prohibitions and limitations on direct candidates. what was struck was a so-called biennial limit prevents citizens from giving to more than a few handfuls of candid it's and party committees, thus the impact, more candid it's, including challenges will have access to the additional financial support. hopefully it will no longer be the province of a select few. similarly the upstart challenge of a candid it's natural ally, the political party, will no longer have to compete with each other to the degree cost by
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mccain-feingold, but this is not enough to fix our system. mccain-feingold must be revisited. thank you for the opportunity to present these views. >> thank you. mr. norman ornstein. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and it is really a pleasure to be here to talk about this issue. i want to miss part by commending senator ted cruz for his full- skirted support of disclosure. i look forward to his vote for the disclose act when it comes up in the senate. >> i wrote that down myself. [laughter] >> i also want to thank senator roberts for putting up the text of the first amendment which i read and reread as i have done so many times. i am still looking for the word money in the first amendment. i just have to say that, if money is defined as speech then the rights of citizens as equals
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in this process to participate simply gets blown away. those who have lots of money have lots of speech. those who have little money have very little or no speech. having said that, i want to really talk about to larger concerns that are generated by the multiple recent moves that i believe have knock the pins out from under the regulatory regime that has long operated in american politics. i wrote my testimony going back to the town and act in 1997, but as i reflected on it it takes us back to the 1830's. the two things i want to talk about are, first, the corrosive corruption that is caused when you remove the modest minutes on monday that have existed. second, a focus of the hearing is the efforts to limit disclosure and enable these huge flows of dark money to enter the system without the accountability necessary in a democratic political system. as a look through history what we know is that the focus on
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corruption, the concerns about corruption and money are not new at all. they go back at least to an attempt in 1837 to prohibit the parties from shaking down government employees and giving contributions. as historian john lawrence noted , abraham lincoln, who i believe was republican, warned that concentrated capital had become, in throned in the political system, and he worried about an era of corruption in high places and tell the republicans destroyed. i have to believe that if abraham lincoln more ground today he would be reinforced in that particular judgment. as we went through the corruption in the grant administration that led to the pendleton act in 1883, the corruption involving outside corporate influence on president theodore roosevelt that led to the town and act in 1907, the teapot dome scandal that resulted in the federal corrupt practices act of 1925, the abuse
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of federal employees that led in 1938 to the passage of the hatch act, the taft-hartley act in 1947, the watergate scandal spurring the federal law election campaign act of 1974 which was revised, of course, by buckley, and on through the abuses of soft money and other ways that brought about the federal election campaign reform -- bipartisan campaign reform act of 2002. it was scandals that led to corruption that led to change. all of-focus was turned on its head by citizens united prod has a very narrow has applied decision and brought down to basically take away almost all of those protections, at least going back to 1907 and then to mccutcheon. i want to make a couple of broad points, particularly about mccutcheon. spite's of the other focal points, but has alarmed me the
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most about the mccutcheon decision was justice roberts basically taking corruption out of the equation and the appearance of corruption entirely out of the equation and defining corruption in the narrowest lake as a quid pro quo that would only be applicable in that case i can't stand or its more popularized american hustler variety. that is so far away from the real world. in particular, now with mccutcheon where officials, elected officials can solicit large contributions, something that we try to restraint deeply in the mccain-feingold bill, it takes me back to an era that i remember well where we had president's clubs and speakers clubs and leaders clubs around here with a menu of access. captain thousand dollars and you get to meet with all the committee chairs.
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25,000 you can add all 1-on-1 with the speaker. this is a trade have access for money which leads down a dangerous path that becomes even more dangerous when we don't have disclosure of who is involved with a lot of these contributions and frankly the notion that mccutcheon will enhance disclosure was, i think, blown out of the water by justice stephen breyer very compelling dissent. ..
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>> and the need to clarify those regulations. fourth the senate should pass a rule with is an ethics code to make it a violation for senators are senior staffers to solicit contributions from committees. it is allowed out there with the broader reform of the campaign finance system there will be of'' of the constitutional amendment. we have a lot of heavy lifting to do the knicks can
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do well bring about more reform but i fear things would get worse before that. thank you. >> mr. chairman thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i appreciate the opportunity to be here to talk about these important issues. you have said he would like the focus to be of the of metuchen case with lack of disclosure but i would make two brief points today about mccain-feingold. first, i was pleased to see the doors and a by my colleagues on the panel with their written testimony today of the mccain-feingold gold to prohibit six and seven figure contributions to national party committees
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in exchange for access to executive branch personnel as well as members of congress. i piggery such huge contributions are potentially corrupting giving rise to the appearance and are bad for democracy. i worry they will resurface after the metuchen decision after from the committee also from citizens united does not share the same concern about the corruption inherent in the congress or the executive branch that we do. my second point about party committees is they have done pretty well financially look
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at the elections of 2000 the last presidential campaign before me and 2012. in 2000 the political parties and their candidates had a total of 1.$1 billion spent in that election. a huge sum today adjusted for inflation would be 1.4 billion. compare that to the amount spent in the most recent election 2012 the total was 2.5 billion dollars. of yet -- up 80 percent and double the actual amount. it is true that outside groups also spent significant sums in 2012 but the national party committees the and candidates were will be source before mccain-feingold.
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in terms of disclosure or lack of written testimony it discusses how we have ended up in disintegration that the supreme court stated that the importance to our democracy in citizens united that we have less and less. my written testimony says the sec has deadlocked over the proposed rule making over disclosure with citizens united. that is corrected still appears to be deadlocked however i would like to go for the record that the commission in 2011 managed to issue the rulemaking notice that did not mention disclosure it even had a hearing but that is the end of this story. no regulation or action on disclosure. the testimony demonstrates how to mattock the sources
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of funding of public advertising has gone 90 percent of outside groups disclose donors. few years later was down at 34% in absolute dollars only 40 percent was disclosed as the source by the aside groups. why is this a problem? i will turn to justice kennedy's explanation insisted united. he said with the advent of the internet, disclosure can prevent shareholders and citizens with the permission deeded to hold corporations in elected officials accountable for their positions ian supporters. shareholders can see if it advances the interest to make profits in citizens can
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see if officials are in the pocket of monday interest. the first amendment protects political speech and disclosure prevents shareholders to react to corporate entities in a way but this enables the electorate to make informed decisions to give proper weight to to the messages so he said the deal was full disclosure but today we have only half and is justice kennedy says that is a problem for our democracy how can shareholders hold them accountable if they have no idea what is being spent? how can voters hold elected officials accountable if they do not know which interest are financing those
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officials elections? finally, how can the electric motors make informed decisions and give those messages says justice kennedy says, is something the court says it is important if voters do not know who is financing the verizon of advertising run by these groups? thank you. >> euronext panel member is former chair of the california fair practices commission and by a share simic thank you. fake you for inviting me to you testified today. i am the vice chair of the ftc but i am not testifying
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with that capacity today. nor am i speaking for the commission. instead my testimony concerns a case pursued during my tenure as chair of the commission to expose dark money. for americans with responsible leadership using the word of the day is the byzantine story of campaign contributions with the apparent effort to avoid revealing to the public who was behind political campaigns we discovered that networks of nonprofits anonymously injected millions of dollars into our election by using show corporate entities wire transfers.
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this allows donors to skirt disclosure laws to'' the identity from the public view. just weeks before the 2012 election of california political action committee that was focused on getting one measure with $11 million contribution and the largest ever made in the history of california elections. it came from arizona nonprofit americans for responsible leadership which had never before spent one time in california. after a complaint was filed attempted to determine if it abided by the requirements of california law to disclose the source of the contribution..u@ó
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we eventually had to see a relief in court the supreme court ruled unanimously on the emergency he sunday session that arl had to handle for the records because of this the day before the election they've
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