Hillary Clinton on Government Reform

Democratic Jr Senator (NY); Secretary of State-Designee

FactCheck: Yes, more legislation & sponsorships than Obama

A misleading unsigned e-mail alleges that Clinton has fewer legislative accomplishments than Obama, and that they are less substantive. We find that the e-mail is false in almost every particular:Contrary to the e-mail’s assertions, Clinton’s and Obama’s contributions are qualitatively similar, and quantitatively, Clinton has the edge.
FactCheck:         Obama/Clinton

Years in Senate      3      7

sponsored    129    358

Bills passed         7     32

Signed into law      2     19

Sponsored, per year 43     51

Passed, per year     2.3    4.6

Signed, per year     0.7    2.7
Source: AdWatch of 2008 campaign ad: “Anonymous Email” Apr 1, 2008

Get D.C. full voting rights, plus more direct federal funds

Q: The District of Columbia--it’s the nation’s capital, but a lot of residents here feel quite disconnected and alienated from the national government. How can you improve the lives of the residents of DC?

A: When I was first lady, I fought to increase their Medicaid match so that they would get more money in the district. It is the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, unfortunately, right here in D.C. I worked to make sure that the adoption and foster care system was improved so that we could get more kids into permanent homes. When I helped to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program, we made sure that D.C. would be well taken care of. So I’ve already produced results for the people of this district, and I intend to do a lot more as president. I want to get full voting rights for D.C. I think it is an injustice that has to be remedied. I want to be a better partner in working with the district on everything from its transportation challenges to its health care problems.

Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008

It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush

I regret deeply that there is a Bush in the White House. But what’s great about our political system is that we are all judged on our own merits. We come forward to the American public and it’s the most grueling political process one can imagine. We start from the same place. Nobody has an advantage no matter who you are or where you came from. You have to raise the money. You have to make the case for yourself. I want to be judged on my own merits. I don’t want to be advantaged or disadvantaged. I’m very proud of my husband’s administration. There were a lot of good things that happened and those good things really changed people’s lives. The trajectory of change during those eight years went from deficits and debt to a balanced budget and a surplus, all those 22 million new jobs and the hopefulness that people brought with them. It did take a Clinton to clean after the first Bush and it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

Stand for public financing and getting money out of politics

Where I stand is for public financing. I’m going to do everything I can to get public financing, to get the money out of American politics. The point is that you’ve got to say no. You’ve got to say no. We will say no consistently in order to have a positive agenda that is actually going to make a difference. Do you have to stand up to the lobbyists? Yes. But the lobbyists represent the interests that are paying the lobbyists. So to go and focus on the lobbyists kind of misses the point.
Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

Transparent government includes federal agency blogs

I want to have a much more transparent government, and I think we now have the tools to make that happen. You know, I said the other night at an event in New Hampshire, I want to have as much information about the way our government operates on the Internet so the people who pay for it, the taxpayers of America, can see that. I want to be sure that, you know, we actually have like agency blogs. I want people in all the government agencies to be communicating with people, because for me, we’re now in an era--which didn’t exist before--where you can have instant access to information, and I want to see my government be more transparent. I want to make sure that we limit, if we can’t eliminate all the no-bid contracts, the cronyism, I want to cut 500,000 government contractors.
Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series Jan 13, 2008

Never abuse the purpose of signing statements

I would use the signing statements the way presidents before Bush used them. They were used to clarify the law, to perhaps make it more coherent with other laws that had been passed. Bush’s used them as essentially a form of veto. When Bush signed the bill, he used a signing statement to say I don’t have to follow that unless I choose to. Let’s quit with all of the perversion of the constitution and the rule of law. Let’s get back to what presidents did in both parties and remove the legacy of Bush.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007

Change system from the inside, not from the outside

“Outside-in” activism wasn’t Hillary’s way. The popular guru of “people power” organizing, Saul Alinsky, was a Chicago man [and Hillary met him & studied with him.] Hillary chose to write a college paper on a group inspired by Alinsky--the Community Action Program. After studying the group for weeks, she came away unimpressed. “[Alinsky] believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn’t,” she wrote bluntly in “Living History.”
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 24-26 Nov 11, 2007

HILL-PAC is one of politics biggest money-raisers

Since she entered the senate in 2001, no senator has raised more money than Clinton has--$51.5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Her personal political action committee, HILL-PAC, is one of the biggest money-raisers and spenders in the business.

For her 2008 presidential bid, she set a goal of $100 million raised through the primaries. To reach her target, she’s decided to forgo public financing, just as Bush did in 2000 and 2004.

While Barack Obama has decided to reject donations from political action committees and lobbyists, Hillary has embraced the politics of the Penthouse Party. Raising money in the suites, she hopes to send her campaign workers out to flood the streets, and in most primaries to date she’s doing just that. In early June 2007, the Clinton campaign had more paid workers in New Hampshire, 54, than every other Democrat combined.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 21 Nov 11, 2007

McCain criticized 26 pork-barrel defense projects by Hillary

[The June 2007 Defense Appropriations Bill had 309] earmarks worth $5.6 billion tacked on by senators creating pork as they tried to bring jobs back home to their states. John McCain, as usual, was responsible for none of them. Even better for his campaign, the second-porkiest senator was Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, with a whopping 26 projects. McCain said, "We can't do this earmarking and pork-barreling if we're ever going to be careful and serious stewards of the taxpayers' dollars.
Source: The Myth of a Maverick, by Matt Welch, p.154 Oct 9, 2007

Public financing would fix campaign donor problems

Q: Norman Hsu was a big fund-raiser for you, and now has come under federal investigation. Is this changing the way Washington does business?

A: Well, I’m very much in favor of public financing, which is the only way to really change a lot of the problems that we have in our campaign finance system. You know, as soon as my campaign found out that he was a fugitive from justice, we did return any contribution that we could in any way link to him.

A: Back in the 1996 campaign, Johnny Chung plead guilty to illegally funding of money, under very similar circumstances. How do you convince the American people that you have changed?

A: Well, this is a problem for every campaign. I have more than 100,000 donors, the vast majority of whom have given me less than $100. We’re spending an enormous amount of time and effort raising money, mostly to be clear to go on television. It is not good for our political system. There has to be a way that public financing becomes the law.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Sep 23, 2007

Presidents should reveal donations to their foundations

Q: Bill Clinton said, “We don’t have to publish all our donors for the Clinton Foundation, but if Hillary became president, I think there would questions about whether people would try to win favor by giving money to me.” In light of that, do you believe that the Clinton Foundation & Library should publish all the donors who give contributions?

A: I actually co-sponsored legislation that would have sitting presidents reveal any donation to their presidential library, and I think that’s a good policy.

Q: Until such legislation, would the Clinton Foundation, make their donors public?

A: Well, you’ll have to ask them.

A: What’s your recommendation?

A: Well, I don’t talk about my private conversations with my husband, but I’m sure he’d be happy to consider that.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

Move to public election financing, not banning lobbyists

EDWARDS: [to Clinton]: I have never taken money from Washington lobbyists. Why don’t we all make an absolutely clear statement that we are the party of the people; not the party of Washington insiders? By saying we will never take another dime from a Washington lobbyist. I’ve asked the other candidates to join me in that. And at least, until now, Sen. Clinton’s not done it.

CLINTON: I believe we have to change Washington. I’ve stood up against the special interests, I’ve taken them on. But there is this artificial distinction that people are trying to make. Don’t take money from lobbyists, but take money from the people who employ and hire lobbyists and give them their marching orders. Those are the people that are really going to be pushing back. I think we can do a much better job if we say we have got to move toward public financing, get the money out of American politics, because it’s the people who employ the lobbyists who are behind all the money in American politics.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

End no-bid contracts, end revolving door in government

Q: You defended taking money from lobbyists, saying: “A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans, they actually do.” Comments?

A: I believe we’ve got to have fundamental reform in Washington. I’m in favor of, especially after Bush and Cheney and Rove, to clean up what they’re leaving behind--to end the no-bid contracts, the revolving door in government. I think it’s absolutely essential that, you know, we get rid of all of the contracting out of government jobs, which has really undermined the quality of services. But you know, I think it is also the case that I have fought for all of these issues against a lot of special interests for a very long time. I fought the drug companies and the insurance companies in ‘93 and ‘94. I fought them again on the Medicare prescription drug benefit. I fought the banks on bankruptcy reform. So I think that my record on standing up and fighting for people really speaks for itself.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

1978: chaired Legal Services Corp. while at Rose Law Firm

The group that really showed Hillary’s political colors was the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Hillary was appointed to the LSC board in 1978 by Pres. Carter & would remain there until 1982, at one point becoming board chair. From that perch, she set out to change the world.

LSC provided attorneys from the federal system to represent the needy in a variety of cases. Thus, the LSC became a magnet for liberals committed to changing society through the court system. What the children of the 1960s coul not achieve through the ballot box, they hoped to gain by the lawsuit.

With Hillary as a member of the premier law firm in Arkansas, the Rose Law Firm, it just so happened that these LSC activities were poised to expand legal services across the nation in a way that had the potential to generate a large amount of business for Rose.

This was a conflict of interest of which Hillary was obviously aware but refused to openly acknowledge, fueled by her strong belief in the moral center of the cause.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 56-58 Jul 18, 2007

Same-day voter registration; no oppressive ID requirements

Q: What would you do to ensure that all Americans are able to cast a free and unfettered vote and that that vote be counted?

A: I introduced a piece of legislation called the “Count Every Vote Act.” We heard firsthand from people in Cleveland who had been disenfranchised, all the people who waited for 10 or 12 hours because the precincts they were in only had two voting machines, whereas down the road, in a more affluent and whiter precinct, people could vote in a couple of minutes. We need to end the disparities in resources. We need to have same day voter registration and earlier absentee voting. We need to make it clear that we’d like to try a holiday or a weekend for voting because more people will be able to get off work and actually do it. And we need to end the oppressive ID requirements that are turning people away from the polls and restore the voting rights of ex-felons.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Create a public service academy, like military academy

When I’m president, the entrance to the White House will no longer be a revolving door for the well connected, but a door of opportunity for the well qualified. We’re going to enlist young people once again serving their government. I have proposed a public service academy, just like our military academy. Let’s start sending young people to school to serve America in another way!
Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference Jun 20, 2007

1970s: Worked on 18-year-old voting Amendment

Joining Hillary on the dais at the League of Women Voters was Marian Wright Edelman, later the founder of Children’s Defense League, the convention’s keynote speaker and a women who would become one of Hillary’s most important and influential friends. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1963, Edelman had become the first black woman admitted to the bar in Mississippi, and she was a tireless worker for children’s rights. A few months earlier, Hillary had also met Edelman’s husband, Peter, a Harvard Law School graduate who had clerked for Justice Arthur J. Goldberg of the Supreme Court. The Edelmans were lobbying Congress to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would lower the voting age from 21 to 18. Hillary endorsed the change: “If young people were old enough to fight, they were entitled to vote.”
Source: Her Way, by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, p. 41 Jun 8, 2007

Cut gov’t contractors and end privatization of government

I stood with AFSCME against the privatization of Social Security and now I want to stand with you against the privatization of our government. The Bush administration has been privatizing government services. In fact, now we have more government contractors and grantees by three times the number than the entire military and Civil Service personnel. We have to stop that. And I have proposed cutting government contractors by 500,000 as soon as I’m sworn in and saving $8 billion to $10 billion.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada Feb 21, 2007

Verified paper ballot for every electronic voting machines

Hillary is strongly committed to making sure that every American has the right to vote in fair, accessible, and credible elections-and that every vote must be counted. She has introduced the Count Every Vote Act of 2005 to provide a verified paper ballot for every vote cast in electronic voting machines; set a uniform standard for provisional ballots, and require the Federal Election Assistance Commission to issue standards that ensure uniform access to voting machines and election personnel.
Source: PAC website, www.hillpac.com, “Biography” Nov 17, 2006

$5M in New York state “pork barrel” bills thru 2004

Hillary’s belief that the government is the best agent at fostering economic growth is evident in the copious amounts of porkbarrel funds she has secured for state & local government projects aimed at stimulating New York’s economy, including:
Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p. 60-62 Oct 11, 2006

Right to vote is precious & needs protection

The right to vote is precious and needs protection: “Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process.”
Source: What Every American Should Know, by the ACU, p. 71 Sep 30, 2005

HILLPAC raised $31M through 2002

Hillary controls her namesake HILLPAC, a phenomenally successful ‘leadership’ political action committee engorged with her Whitehaven funds, a type of PAC usually associated with senior leadership figures like Tom Daschle and Tom Delay.

During the 2002 election cycle, Hillary was among the Senate’s top donors, disbursing more than $1 million to candidates and to party committees.

Hillary raises almost half of her funds from outside the state, with trial lawyers and law firms as her top categories. She endearingly bestows the title ‘Hill Raisers’ on those who collect large sums for her. Lesser mortals can log onto the Hillary website and become ‘Hill’s Angels’

Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrell, p. 23-24 Feb 25, 2004

HILLPAC raised $31M through 2002

Her namesake HILLPAC, a phenomenally successful "leadership" political action committee engorged with her Whitehaven funds is a type of PAC usually associated with senior leadership figures like Tom Daschle and Tom DeLay. During the 2002 election cycle, Hillary was among the Senate's top donors, disbursing more than $1 million to candidates (including more than one hundred members of Congress) and to party committees. In the 2002 cycle, she actively helped raise funds for more than thirty House and Senate candidates. With each donation she invests, Hillary strengthens her hold over Democratic officeholders. "Who's going to raise that kind of money for the Democratic Party?" asks a senatorial colleague of Hillary's. "Not a Nancy Pelosi or a Dianne Feinstein. She's doling it out and she's getting the chits."
Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, p. 23-24 Feb 25, 2004

Only explicit felonies should trigger impeachment

In the 1970s, when young Hillary served as staff member on the House Judiciary Impeachment Inquiry, she surveyed four centuries of common law, to describe the intent of the constitutional provision of impeachment. She concluded, "to limit the impeachable conduct to criminal offenses would be incompatible with the evidence concerning the constitutional meaning of the phrase, and would frustrate the purpose that the framers intended for impeachment."

As the wife of an impeached president, she took the opposite position, arguing that according to the Constitution only explicit felonies--apparently felonies graver than perjury--could trigger impeachment. She admonished that to impeach a president on these grounds was a violation of the rule of law and of the Constitution.

Hillary today praises her own 1974 work, saying that during the impeachment debacle of her husband, she often reread her old Watergate memos. She reports that she still agrees with her assessment.

Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, p.131-132 Feb 25, 2004

Triangulation replaces partisanship with a dynamic center

Dick Morris helped Bill develop a strategy to break through the wall of obstructionist Republicans.

When opposing camps are in two polar positions, they can decide to move toward a third position--like the apex of the triangle--what came to be called "triangulation." This was essentially a restatement of the philosophy Bill had developed as Governor & as Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. In the 1992 campaign, he championed moving beyond the "brain-dead" politics of both parties to craft a "dynamic center." More than old-fashioned compromise of splitting the difference, triangulation reflected the approach Bill had promised to bring to Washington.

When, for example, the Republicans tried to claim ownership of welfare reform, an issue Bill had been working on since 1980, Bill would avoid saying no. Instead, he would support the objectives of reform but insist on changes that would improve the legislation and attract enough moderate support to defeat the extreme Republican position.

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.290 Nov 1, 2003

Defined appropriate high crimes for impeaching Nixon in 1973

[Working on the Nixon Impeachment inquiry]: Andrew Johnson was the only previous President to be impeached, and historians generally agreed that the Congress had misused its solemn constitutional responsibility for partisan political purposes. [Our committee chair] was committed to running a process that the public and history would judge as nonpartisan and fair, no matter what the outcome. I helped draft procedural rules to present to the House Judiciary Committee. I attended public meetings of th committee and sat at the counsel's table while the chairman presented the procedures he wanted the members to accept.

After working on procedures, I moved on to research the legal grounds for a presidential impeachment and wrote along memo summarizing my conclusions about what did--and did not--constitute an impeachable offense. Years later, I reread the memo. I still agreed with its assessment of the kinds of "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" the framers of the Constitution intended to be impeachable.

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p. 67 Nov 1, 2003

Visited many non-governmental programs on India trip

On her 1995 trip to India, Mrs. Clinton seemed to be reassessing her political philosophy after the health reform debacle. She was clearly impressed with the nongovernmental social programs she had been visiting--indeed, all the programs she visited on the subcontinent were nongovernmental--and she was beginning to wonder if the needs of poor women and children might be best served by circumventing the government bureaucracy (a classic New Democrat formulation). She was, as ever, cautious about this--"there are good and bad governmental programs and good and bad nongovernmental programs," she said (a classic Hillarian formulation)--but there was a curiosity and a humility that hadn't seemed apparent before.
Source: The Natural, by Joe Klein, p.128 Feb 11, 2003

Whitewater investigation ends; Hillary questions $52M spent

The six-year, $52 million Whitewater investigation came to a close yesterday, as Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced he had found “insufficient evidence” to bring charges in the widest-reaching special prosecutor inquiry ever. In a short statement, Ray [who took over from Ken Starr last October] concluded there was “inconclusive” evidence that President Clinton and Hillary Clinton participated in, or were aware of, any illegal activity tied to the Whitewater real estate venture in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I’m just glad this is finally over,” Hillary Clinton said. Finally free of the issue that marred her tenure as first lady and the early part of her Senate campaign, Hillary Clinton expressed confidence Whitewater had been a non-issue all along, saying most people had “made up their minds a long time ago.” She said, “I think that taxpayers have a right to ask why was all this money spent, especially since ... the conclusions were readily available five years ago.”

Source: Boston Globe, p. A1 Sep 21, 2000

Soft money ban & independent ad ban for Senate campaign

If we could work out a ban on not only soft money but independent expenditures, which have already run ads against me, I think that would be a very good example to set for the rest of the country. I would not do it at all if they would not do it. I was concerned by what I read about the practices being engaged by the Giuliani campaign. I think they do bear looking into.
Source: CNN.com Feb 11, 2000

New Democrat: Government is not the solution to all problems

I’m a new Democrat. I don’t believe government is the source of all of our problems or the solution to them. But I do believe that when people live up to their responsibilities, we ought to live up to ours to help them build better lives. That’s the basic bargain we owe one another in America today.
Source: Announcement Speech, SUNY Purchase Feb 6, 2000

Give big states a big slice of federal pie

If I were in the Senate, I would try to create a coalition of the big states to stand up for our interests. It may be that we’ll never get a dollar-for-dollar exchange, but we sure ought to get more than we’re getting now.
Source: Listening event in Jamestown NY Aug 4, 1999

We need strong and efficient governments

To address the issues that are paramount today [we need] effectively functioning governments to do. There are those who insist on assaulting government, who claim that if we would only abolish or severely weaken it that everyone’s freedom and prosperity would blossom. That is, I believe, a very mistaken notion. We need strong and efficient governments-not oppressive or weak ones-that are able to empower citizens to help them take responsibility for their families and communities.
Source: Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France Jun 17, 1999

Government should help people, not support bureaucracy

I was against people who came up with big government programs that were more supportive of bureaucracies than they were actually helpful to people. I’ve been on this kick 25 years. I am proud I was a Goldwater girl. My beliefs changed over time. I always thought the role of citizen was as important in our democracy as running for office.
Source: Unique Voice, p. 59 & 62 Feb 3, 1997

1973: Researched Nixon's White House tapes

In 1974 on the Impeachment Committee, Hillary Rodham's main assignment was establishing the legal procedures to be followed in the course of the impeachment. Her work ultimately led to suggesting drafting procedures to be followed by the committee in conducting the formal presentation aspects of its work, what sort of rules of evidence would be involved, what sort of objections would be deemed appropriate or inappropriate, and the scope of cross-examination. It meant staying in the background, and being, above all, discreet.

"I was kind of locked in this soundproof room with the big headphone on, listening to tapes," she told the Arkansas Gazette. "There was one we called the tape of tapes. It was Nixon taping himself listening to the tapes, making up his defenses to what he heard on the tapes. So you would hear Nixon talk and then you'd hear very faintly the sound of a taped prior conversation, and you'd hear him say, 'What I meant when I said that was...' I mean, it was surreal."

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 70-71 Aug 1, 1993

Hillary Clinton on Voting Record

Count Every Vote Act: end voting discrimination by race

In the past two presidential elections, we saw people turned away from the polls or discouraged from voting. We saw ballots mysteriously lost in state after state. It is inconceivable that in 2007 African Americans would have to wait in line for 10 hours to vote, while whites in the affluent precinct next door waited 10 minutes; or that students at a college would be fundamentally discriminated against and not given their right to vote by being denied even the right to register or the equipment that they would need to do so.

That is why I’ve introduced the Count Every Vote Act in the Senate because I want to make sure that we are not embarrassed again as a nation. We are the oldest democracy in the world, and we need to act like it and restore integrity to our electoral process. Our democracy requires nothing less.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference Jun 20, 2007

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

Voted NO on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress.

A motion to table (kill) an amendment to clarify the application of the gift rule to lobbyists. Voting NAY would define employees of lobbying companies as registered lobbyists and therefore subject to the gift ban. Voting YEA would apply the gift ban only to specific people who registered as lobbyists.
Reference: Feingold Amendment to Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act; Bill S.Amdt.2962 to S.2349 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 29, 2006

Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity.

An amendment to establish the Senate Office of Public Integrity. Voting YEA would establish the new office, and voting NAY would keep ethics investigations within the existing Senate Ethics Committee.
Reference: Collins Amendment to Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act; Bill S.Amdt.3176 to S.2349 ; vote number 2006-077 on Mar 28, 2006

Voted YES on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.

Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted NO on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration.

Motion to Table Schumer Amdt. No. 2937; To permit the use of a signature or personal mark for the purpose of verifying the identity of voters who register by mail, and for other purposes. Voting Yes would kill the amendment. The amendment would allow a signature to identify voters who register by mail, instead of requiring showing photo identification or other proof of residence before being allowed to vote.
Reference: Bill S.565 ; vote number 2002-38 on Feb 27, 2002

Voted YES on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations.

Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Reference: Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voluntary public financing for all general elections.

Clinton adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Return Politics to the People
At a time when much of the world is emulating American values and institutions, too many Americans have lost confidence in their political system. They are turned off by a partisan debate that often seems to revolve not around opposing philosophies but around contending sets of interest groups. They believe that our current system for financing campaigns gives disproportionate power to wealthy individuals and groups and exerts too much influence over legislative and regulatory outcomes.

The time for piecemeal reform is past. As campaign costs soar at every level, we need to move toward voluntary public financing of all general elections and press broadcasters to donate television time to candidates.

The Internet holds tremendous potential for making campaigns less expensive and more edifying and for engaging Americans directly in electoral politics. We should promote the Internet as a new vehicle for political communication and champion online voting.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC9 on Aug 1, 2000

Criminalize false or deceptive info about elections.

Clinton co-sponsored criminalizing false or deceptive info about elections

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Amends federal criminal law to prohibit any person from knowingly deceiving any other person regarding:

  1. the time, place, or manner of conducting any federal election; or
  2. the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility for any such election.
Creates a private right of action for any person aggrieved by a violation of such prohibition. Prescribes a criminal penalty for such deceptive acts.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: Voter participation is fundamental to our democracy, and we must do all we can to encourage those who can to vote. I also hope voters go to the polls with accurate information about what is on the ballot, where they are supposed to vote, and what our Nation's voting laws are.

It might surprise some of you to know, but even in this awesome age of technological advancement and easy access to information, there are folks who will stop at nothing to try to deceive people and keep them away from the polls. These deceptive practices all too often target and exploit vulnerable populations, like minorities, the disabled, or the poor.

Deceptive practices often rely on a few tried and true tricks. Voters are often warned that an unpaid parking ticket will lead to their arrest or that folks with family members who have been convicted of a crime are ineligible to vote. Of course, these warnings have no basis in fact, and they are made with one goal and one goal only: to keep Americans away from the polls.

The bill I am introducing today provides the clear statutory language and authority needed to get allegations of deceptive practices investigated. It establishes harsh penalties for those found to have perpetrated them. Deceptive practices and voter intimidation are real problems and demand real solutions like those offered in my bill.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; never came to a vote.

Source: Voter Intimidation Prevention Act (S.1975/H.R.4463) 05-S1975 on Nov 8, 2005

Reject photo ID requirements for voting.

Clinton co-sponsored rejecting photo ID requirements for voting

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Expresses the sense of Congress that:

  1. a requirement that U.S. citizens obtain photo identification cards before being able to vote has not been shown to ensure ballot integrity and places an undue burden on citizens' legitimate voting rights; (
  2. the Department of Justice should challenge any state law that limits a citizen's ability to vote based on discriminatory photo identification requirements; and
  3. any effort to impose national photo identification requirements for voting should be rejected.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: I am submitting a resolution to express the Senate's strong disapproval of recent efforts to disenfranchise Americans. Unfortunately, too many electoral reform efforts seem intent on limiting access to the ballot as opposed to expanding it. In the mid-20th century, the poll tax was the preferred means of disenfranchising large minority populations, specifically African Americans. Today, the poll tax is taking on a new form--a photo identification requirement for voters.

According to the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, such a requirement would "impose an additional expense on the exercise of the franchise, a burden that would fall disproportionately on people who are poorer and urban." Nevertheless, a number of States, including Georgia, have recently passed laws mandating government-issued photo identification for voters at the polls. Nationwide, at least 12% of eligible drivers do not have a driver's license. And Georgia has made it difficult for rural and urban folks to obtain their voter photo identification.

The Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform acknowledges that there is "no evidence of extensive fraud in U.S. elections or of multiple voting."

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; never came to a vote.

Source: Resolution on Voting (S.CON.RES.53) 05-SC53 on Sep 20, 2005

Post earmarks on the Internet before voting on them.

Clinton co-sponsored posting earmarks on the Internet before voting on them

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This bill attempts to limit earmarks by publicizing them. Rather than banning earmarks, this bill requires that earmarks and other last-minute add-ins get posted on the Internet. Posting provisions on the Internet for 3 days is intended to restrict lobbyists influence on earmarks that would otherwise go unnoticed.


LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; never came to a vote.
Source: CLEAN-UP Act (S.2179) 06-S2179 on Jan 18, 2006

Establish the United States Public Service Academy.

Clinton sponsored establishing the United States Public Service Academy

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. CLINTON: I rise today to introduce legislation that will create an undergraduate institution designed to cultivate a generation of young leaders dedicated to public service. The US Public Service Academy Act (The PSA Act) will form a national academy to serve as an extraordinary example of effective, national public education.

The tragic events of September 11 and the devastation of natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita underscore how much our Nation depends on strong public institutions and competent civilian leadership at all levels of society. Congress must take a step forward to ensure competent civilian leadership and improve our Nation's ability to respond to future emergencies and to confront daily challenges.

This legislation will create the US Public Service Academy to groom future public servants and build a corps of capable civilian leaders. Modeled after the military service academies, this academy will provide a four-year, federally-subsidized college education for more than 5,000 students a year in exchange for a five year commitment to public service.

The PSA Act will meet critical national needs as the baby-boomer generation approaches retirement. Already, studies show looming shortages in the Federal civil service, public education, law enforcement, the non-profit sector and other essential areas.

Unfortunately our young people are priced out of public service careers all too often. By providing a service-oriented education at no cost to the student, the PSA Act will tap into the strong desire to serve that already exists among college students while erasing the burden of enormous college debt.

The establishment of a United States Public Service Academy is an innovative way to strengthen and protect America by creating a corps of well-trained, highly-qualified civilian leaders. I am hopeful that my Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle will join me today.

Source: United States Public Service Academy Act (S.960 & HR.1671) 07-HR1671 on Mar 23, 2007

Prohibit voter intimidation in federal elections.

Clinton co-sponsored prohibiting voter intimidation in federal elections

Makes it unlawful for anyone before or during a federal election to knowingly communicate false election-related information about that election, with the intent to prevent another person from exercising the right to vote. Increases from one year to five years' imprisonment the criminal penalty for intimidation of voters.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. OBAMA: This bill seeks to address the all-too-common efforts to deceive voters in order to keep them away from the polls. It's hard to imagine that we even need a bill like this. But, unfortunately, there are people who will stop at nothing to try to deceive voters and keep them away from the polls. What's worse, these practices often target and exploit vulnerable populations, such as minorities, the disabled, or the poor. We saw countless examples in this past election.

Of course, these so-called warnings have no basis in fact, and are made with only one goal in mind--to keep Americans away from the polls. We see these problems election after election, and my hope is that this bill will finally stop these practices. This bill makes voter intimidation & deception punishable by law, and it contains strong penalties. The bill also seeks to address the real harm of these crimes--people who are prevented from voting by misinformation--by establishing a process for reaching out to these misinformed voters with accurate information so they can cast their votes in time.
Source: Voter Intimidation Prevention Act (H.R.1281 & S.453) 07-S453 on Mar 1, 2007

Prohibit 'voter caging' which intimidates minority voting.

Clinton co-sponsored prohibiting 'voter caging' which intimidates minority voting

Rep. CONYERS: "Since the late 1950's, the pernicious practice of 'voter caging' has been used to discourage or prevent eligible voters from casting their vote. Recent elections have shown that caging tactics are not outdated, and in fact, have disenfranchised voters in recent midterm and Presidential elections. While caging efforts have traditionally been directed at minority communities, all voters are susceptible to these attempts at voter intimidation and suppression.

"The undemocratic practice of voter caging involves sending mail to voters at the addresses at which they are registered to vote. Should such mail be returned as undeliverable or without a return receipt, the voter's name is placed on a 'caging list.' These caging lists are then used to challenge a voter's registration or eligibility.

"In my home State of Michigan, I have seen firsthand how caging efforts are used to harass, bully, and ultimately disenfranchise, eligible voters. With a Michigan lawmaker advocating 'suppress the Detroit vote,' I cannot help but think that is synonymous with 'suppress the Black vote' as Detroit is 83% African American. These voter suppression campaigns always seem to target our most vulnerable voters--racial minorities, low-income people, homeless people, and college students.

"Caging tactics meant to suppress the vote do more than impede the right to vote. They threaten to erode the very core of our democracy. By eliminating barriers to the polls, we can help restore what has been missing from our elections--fairness, honesty, and integrity."