Bills should be required reading

 

That Congress doesn’t work to serve our best interest is not news.  Major legislation, including the $787 billion “stimulus” porker and the cap-and-trade energy tax legislation are essentially written by Democrats in leadership positions and then popped onto the floor for quick votes.  As a result, almost nobody knows what’s in them until after the deed is done.

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Brian Baird of Washington State and Republican John Culberson of Texas, have introduced a resolution to require non-emergency legislation to be posted on the Internet 72 hours in advance of a floor vote.  A number of good-government interest groups, including Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based organization created in 2006 to promote transparency in government, are pushing the effort.  A conservative group, Let Freedom Ring, is attempting to extract a promise from members of Congress that they won’t vote on health care legislation until they’ve read it.  

This is a campaign every American should join. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’ll give members 48 hours to read bills. Arcane legislation that hasn’t been fully aired in committee hearings requires more.  Pelosi knows, however, that if voters know what’s in crammed-down, railroad-through legislation that opposition will develop.

Three days is hardly any time to examine hugely consequential legislation.  But if it is made available to the nation on the Internet 72 hours in advance of the vote, an army of individual experts will find and signal its sweetheart provisions as well as its flaws.

Ah, now we see.  The last thing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want is transparency.

71 comments Add your comment

clyde

July 7th, 2009
1:54 pm

Welcome to Club Cynacism,@@.It has a lot of dues paying members.

South Carolina Republicans have voted to censure Sanford.This adds to my cynicism.This is the first time a Republican has been reprimanded in South Carolina.Up until now every one of them has been perfect.

Chris Broe

July 7th, 2009
1:54 pm

How long can America ride the bull? This summer was going along quietly enough. I’m actually learning how to surf. (There are surfer moms, man!) Anyway, David Carradine shocked us all, only to have Sanford, who went foolishly incommunicado, coincidentally interrupt us by going full commando. Then we get sucker-punched by Palin’s inspired “higher calling”. (What, she can now see Tibet from her belfry?) I have to keep repeating to myself: “It’s only a Marx Brother’s movie.”

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
2:09 pm

If you are dimwitted enough to run this moron, we welcome it. We’ll slam dunk her butt into eternity. If only the tiny minority that will follow Palin into the sea could get her nominated, it would be a dream ccme true. We love to pound you. We did it in nearly every Senate race, House race, and we smeared you in the race for President. We reduced you to crybabies on some obscure blog comment section of a high school degenerated former newspaper.

There was a remarkable parallel to the disjointed ramblings of mentally ill untreated borderline patient Palin and the Pakistani terrorist at her competency hearing yesterday. Both rambled as only the mentally ill can.

Run the moron, and we’ll pound you once again.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
2:44 pm

From FDL:

Sarah Palin Thinks Being President Would Be Awesome Because Ass-Kicking “Department of Law” Would Protect Her from Lawsuits

“More fodder for those snobby, secular East Coast elites in New York and Washington who passed 3rd grade history.

Palin said there is a difference between the White House and what she has experienced in Alaska. If she were in the White House the “department of law” would protect her from baseless ethical allegations.

“I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out,” she said.

Palin not only slept through civics, as Christy pointed out, she must’ve been unconscious during the entire 1990s as well.

In another genius interview with Andrea Mitchell (at right), Palin claims multiple times that the “frivolous” ethics complaints against her cost Alaska “millions of dollars.”

She’s lying, of course.”

From Alaska Daily News:

Ethics complaints against Gov. Sarah Palin and top members of her administration have cost the state personnel board nearly $300,000 over the past year, almost two-thirds of which appear to be from the Troopergate investigation of the governor.

Price tag for probes
Alaska State Personnel Board list of independent counsel expenses for ethics complaints:
Case No. Total

2008-001 $43,028.36

2008-002, -003, -004 $187,797.62

2008-005 0

2008-006 $29,962.00

2008-007, -008 $12,921.44

2008-009 $3,712.00

2009-001 $4,478.66

2009-002 $7,438.50

2009-003 $4,192.00

2009-004 $2,512.00

Total expenditure $296,042.58

That’s according to new figures released by the personnel board, which described them as “independent counsel expenditures.” The board hires private lawyers to investigate the complaints. The expenditures were released after the personnel board expressed frustration at the costs of the complaints. Palin has said the state is wasting money trying to resolve “frivolous” complaints against her.

The bulk of the expenses — $187,797 — appear to stem from Troopergate, the messy case involving Palin’s former brother-in-law, a state trooper, who got on the wrong side with Palin and her family.

Elephant Whip

July 7th, 2009
3:02 pm

Sad State of Affairs:

Your name is a fitting description of the Republican Party’s status right now. Get a clue. Don’t stand by Palin; let her go. I would not be suprised if she purposefully sank her own career. She has been exploited by all sides. I imagine that she would rather enjoy a regular life in Alaska from this point forward.

If you don’t stop believing that Palin is some kind of trump card, you will lose big. If you want to beat the Democrats, you need to rebuild your own party and put people’s (yes, conservative people’s)interests above the military-industrial-corporate-fascists’.

retiredds

July 7th, 2009
3:13 pm

updated 2 hours, 14 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Senate’s top Republican (Mitch McConnell)suggested Tuesday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor lets racial bias cloud her rulings, even as a national lawyers’ group rated her “well-qualified” to be a justice.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito also got unanimous a “well-qualified” rating from the ABA before their Senate hearings.

Jim, this came in a few hours ago from AP. I guess it’s o.k. with the conservative Repubs that their guys get a “well qualified” rating from the ABA but not nominee Sotomayor. I’m sure Mitch McConnell and friends are not biased.

getalife

July 7th, 2009
4:00 pm

The lobbyists write the bills then bribe them to get them passed.

The Supreme Court is ready to undo the ban on corporate spending in elections for president and Congress.

Go out with a bang Jim and write they should move government to Wall Street.

Our democracy is totally corrupt and you know it.

Write about it.

sharecropper

July 7th, 2009
5:06 pm

Wooten, for six years the Republicans would not even allow a Democrat to introduce a bill. You sat mute, as all wingnuts did, just as you sat mute as Mr. Bluster and Crazy Dick Cheney ran the country into incredible deficits. NOW you are concerned? You and your’s are hypocrites, and shameful ones at that. Would you take the next one and a half minutes of your miserable column writing, and tell us exactly how transparent were Bush, Cheney, Delay, Hastert, Gingrich, et al? Nah. It will take about 30 seconds. Believe what you will. But don’t be a hypocrite, for if there is a god, hypocrites are doomed to the hottest fires. It is sleazy.

clyde

July 7th, 2009
5:19 pm

Sharecropper,
It’s better to live in the present than in the past.In the past we did not have transparency as we don’t now,and now is a better time to try to fix it than trying to go back to last year to do same.Usher in transparency now or we’ll be talking about it again next year.I should think the Democrats would be more than willing to open up government for all to see.Republicans didn’t seem to want to but that’s not an excuse that should be used now.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
5:27 pm

America’s most famous pedofile remains dead after two weeks, and networks that wouldn’t even mention his name have turned into the Michael Jackson HALLELUYA network. The mud wrestlin’ pigs the Kings were there, showing the Jacksons the way to mud wrestle over potential earnings of someone dead.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
5:53 pm

Palin Completely Lies About Ethics Complaint Record: Borderline Personities are always Pathological Liars

From EW:

Ever since the stunning decision to quit her elected office, and abandon her constituents, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been relentlessly repeating the line that she has been victorious in every ethics investigation against her. This ABC News report is typical:

But she said a major factor in the decision was the mounting legal bills she and the state have had to incur to fight ethics charges from her political adversaries. None of the accusations have been proved but, she said, the costs of fighting them have been enormous.

This is a demonstrably false statement and, yet, every major media source has allowed her to utter it without contravention and many have blindly repeated it.

Perhaps Sarah Palin has forgotten the most extensive and professional investigation performed of all, the one by longtime Alaska prosecutor Steven Branchflower, appointed by the Legislative Council of the Alaska State Legislature, which found that Sarah Palin Unlawfully Abused Her Power:

Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired. She had the authority and power to require Mr. Palin to case contacting subordinates, but she failed to act.

Such impermissible and repeated contacts create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior’s displeasure and the possible consequences of such displeasure. This was one of the very reasons the Ethics Act was promulgated by the Legislature.

The Branchflower report was not the only problem Palin had before she quit her brief tenure as Governor. Oh no, there is also the matter of the travel expenses she attempted to bilk her state out of and that she was forced to repay:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will repay her state for travel expenses for nine trips with her children as part of a settlement of a 2008 ethics claim, the attorney who investigated the matter said Tuesday.

Anchorage lawyer Timothy Petumenos said Palin’s office is still adding up the costs, but “I’m told it’s running about $7,000.” Palin acknowledged no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and her attorney said she has been “fully exonerated” by the investigation.

Complaints that Palin improperly took her children on state-paid trips emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. The state Personnel Board hired Petumenos to investigate that claim and others filed during Palin’s time on the GOP ticket.

Now, in fairness, by entering into a plea bargain settlement agreement with the state, and agreeing to promptly repay the ill begotten travel allowances, Palin was able to have the official record read that there was no abiding ethics violation, but the simple fact is if there was no wrongdoing, she would not have had to enter an agreement and repay the funds.

So, and perhaps the mainstream media should pick up on this, when Sarah Palin blissfully states she has been completely exonerated on all ethics complaints, and that she is oh so poor and picked on, it is a lie.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
5:55 pm

More lies from Palin:

From FDL

Ever since the stunning decision to quit her elected office, and abandon her constituents, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been relentlessly repeating the line that she has been victorious in every ethics investigation against her. This ABC News report is typical:

But she said a major factor in the decision was the mounting legal bills she and the state have had to incur to fight ethics charges from her political adversaries. None of the accusations have been proved but, she said, the costs of fighting them have been enormous.

This is a demonstrably false statement and, yet, every major media source has allowed her to utter it without contravention and many have blindly repeated it.

Perhaps Sarah Palin has forgotten the most extensive and professional investigation performed of all, the one by longtime Alaska prosecutor Steven Branchflower, appointed by the Legislative Council of the Alaska State Legislature, which found that Sarah Palin Unlawfully Abused Her Power:

Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired. She had the authority and power to require Mr. Palin to case contacting subordinates, but she failed to act.

Such impermissible and repeated contacts create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior’s displeasure and the possible consequences of such displeasure. This was one of the very reasons the Ethics Act was promulgated by the Legislature.

The Branchflower report was not the only problem Palin had before she quit her brief tenure as Governor. Oh no, there is also the matter of the travel expenses she attempted to bilk her state out of and that she was forced to repay:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will repay her state for travel expenses for nine trips with her children as part of a settlement of a 2008 ethics claim, the attorney who investigated the matter said Tuesday.

Anchorage lawyer Timothy Petumenos said Palin’s office is still adding up the costs, but “I’m told it’s running about $7,000.” Palin acknowledged no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and her attorney said she has been “fully exonerated” by the investigation.

Complaints that Palin improperly took her children on state-paid trips emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. The state Personnel Board hired Petumenos to investigate that claim and others filed during Palin’s time on the GOP ticket.

Now, in fairness, by entering into a plea bargain settlement agreement with the state, and agreeing to promptly repay the ill begotten travel allowances, Palin was able to have the official record read that there was no abiding ethics violation, but the simple fact is if there was no wrongdoing, she would not have had to enter an agreement and repay the funds.

So, and perhaps the mainstream media should pick up on this, when Sarah Palin blissfully states she has been completely exonerated on all ethics complaints, and that she is oh so poor and picked on, it is a lie.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
5:59 pm

The scumbag Gonzales, unable to find employment for over a year after being banished from his job, got a job teaching–but not law–poly sci at the vernerable academic institution Texas Tech– a big yeehaw to Alberto Gonzo and the Gonzomatics.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
6:08 pm


How Jackson Family is Coping–by litigating visciously like the Kings seconds after the famous family member died of course.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
8:12 pm

Any truth to the rumor that David Letterman will run for Governor of Alaska or Senator against Lisa Murkowski?

The Republican party has become the James Joyce Part of Stream of Consciousness.

Say hello to the US Dept. of Law that will protect Ms. Borderline Personality perpetual victim. You are watching a quintissential very sick Borderline Personality center stage.

Whackjob Fishin' and Quittin' at Bristol Bay

July 7th, 2009
8:49 pm

Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was deposed Tuesday by attorneys for the House Judiciary Committee, according to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the panel’s chairman.

Rove’s deposition began at 10 a.m. and ended around 6:30 p.m, with several breaks, Conyers said.

EVIL REPUBLICANS TIME IS UP

July 7th, 2009
9:22 pm

FAILIN PALIN SAID PHUCK THIS,I`M GOING HUNTIN SO I CAN BLAST ON SOME MOOSE,DEER,BEAR AND WOLVES,I`VE RUN THE STATE OF ALASKA INTO THE GROUND LIKE BUSH DID AMERICA,SO IT`S TIME FOR ME TO GO! HERE I COME FAUX NEWS!

dmac

July 8th, 2009
6:59 am

As a progressive, I agree that all bills should be posted in advance for public scrutiny.

However, it does not matter how much time they have, legislators will not take the time to read the bills.

When’s the last time Jim Wooten read a hundred page bill? When have any of the posters on this blog read any legislation?

At its core, this is just another stunt by Republicans.

Ahm a Ditz Brain in Red Monkey Heels

July 8th, 2009
7:32 am

Wooten’s premise is clearly phony. There is no doubt bills should be posted well in advance. Republicans don’t take positions based on any actual bill. They take positions based on sour grapes. They ran a moron, and the moron helped them lose. Every poll shows this. And it doesn’t matter what percent of Republican base and it’s the base likes a moron for President (two of ‘em were running last November), they are a small out of touch “just say no” minority. Health care is in the toilet via many perameters and it has been for the entire medical career of most physicians.

When the so-called Patriot Act, a near 500 page bill was voted on, the Republican Bush DOJ who wrote the bill, held it until it was distributed between 3AM and 4AM to Congress. That’s not exactly prime time and this was the morning of the vote.

Neither Wooten or the idiot Republicans ever read the bills they vote on, but they constantly insert Republican pork that drains money that can be used for health care. Chambliss’ soon to be vetoed horse crap with the $1.5 billion to be pissed away on the obselete F22 is a great example.

Copyleft

July 8th, 2009
7:42 am

While it’s true they won’t read the bills themselves, that’s what they have a staff for. And the staff will have more time to look for loopholes and broker backroom deals this way, so it’s win-win.

Isn’t it?

clyde

July 8th, 2009
7:48 am

I’ve read a lot of legislation on the state level over the years and have to admit that it’s pretty dry reading.I have also found that my elected representatives often have only a fuzzy grasp of the contents.Sometimes,when questioned about points in a bill,they have no idea what you’re talking about.One representative told me it made no difference whether they are read or not,party line was the way to vote.He said that party was why he was elected.I suggest that informed citizens keep their reps abreast of what’s going on.Someone sure has to.On the state level it’s a fairly easy task,but on the national level access is more restrictive.The people who have access to the national political ears are seldom you and I.