Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sign the Voters First Pledge at Public Campaign Action Fund, for volunteer public financing of federal elections

Public Campaign Action Fund is running a Voter Pledge drive for clean elections for federal candidates. Clean elections is another term for volunteer public financing of candidate campaigns. It can save the candidates from "dialing for dollars" every day in order to keep their campaign money flowing; this allows them to focus their time and energy on their important issues they want to share with the voters.

Please sign the 2008 Voters First Pledge right now, at Public Campaign-- you can help increase the pressure on lawmakers and candidates to back this needed reform. Thank you

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tell your two US Senators to vote YES for full-vote Washington, DC representation

Public Citizen is asking us to call or write our US Senators in favor of having a US Representative for Washington, DC residents. Our more than half a million District of Columbia citizens have been paying federal income taxes, fighting in wars and all of the other things Americans have done over the years, but they don't have a vote in Congress!

Prominent constitutional scholars and former Congressmembers agree that they can legally have their own full-voting Congressmember. Why wait any longer? Please call both of your US Senators at the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121; or, use Public Citizen's webpage to send them a message. Then email action@citizen.org with your senators' responses. Thank you

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Announcing the Congress Reform team lineup!

Well, today is the big day, when All Things Reform's Facebook has determined the current lineup for our Congressional Reform team.

We have two "starting" levels: the All-Stars, and the practice squad. Here are the lineups:

Congress Reform All-Stars
  • US Rep. Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • US Sen. Russ Feingold
  • US Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin
  • US Rep. Jeff Flake
  • US Sen. Jim DeMint
  • US Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Congress Reform practice squad
  • US Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • US Sen. Ted Stevens
  • US Rep. Jack Murtha
  • US Sen. Larry Craig
  • US Rep. William Jefferson
  • US Sen. John Ensign
There you have it, the Congressional Reform team! Check out the pictures and the strengths/ weaknesses of these players at All Things Reform Facebook page right now!

Call your two US Senators and ask them to support the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

Public Citizen is asking us to call our two US Senators, and ask them to support the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act (S.223). It would require all senate candidates, both challengers and incumbents if office, to file their campaign finance reports electronically (as opposed to paper). Just as important, they need to support the bill without the Ensign Amendment, which is unconstitutional.

In addition to bringing technology up-to-date, it would save the American taxpayer $250,000. per year! Call both of your senators right now; you can reach them at the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Then, if you can, please leave word with Public Citizen on whether they do already support the bill without the amendment. Thank you

Call your two US Senators and your US Representative and ask them to co-sponsor the Fair Share Act

A new bill has been introduced in both houses of Congress, called the Fair Share Act (US House bill: H.R.5602) (US Senate bill: S.2775). It would prevent government contractors from using offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. We need to show Washington that, this tax season, Americans expect tax-dodging contractors to be held accountable for their tricks.

Call your two US Senators and US Representative; the Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. They want to know what you think. Thanks

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Participate in Fair Elections Action Week Monday April 14 to Friday April 18, 2008

The Fair Elections Now Coalition, a group of six public interest groups, is organizing this year's Fair Elections Action Week, which is Monday, April 14th to Friday, April 18. It will promote the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) (S.1285) now being legislated in the US Senate. FENA would bring full public financing of elections to the US Senate.

Again, the dedicated web site for Fair Elections Action Week is at http://www.fairelectionsnow.org/. Learn what you can do now, by downloading their activist toolkit. Activists are encouraged to participate locally, across this great nation. Bookmark the site to keep up with the latest updates! Thank you

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The 2008 Congressional Pig Book from Citizens Against Government Waste is published

The 2008 Congressional Pig Book Summary is here!

This morning Citizens Against Government (CAGW) shared with the American people the names of those in Congress who are responsible for the 11,610 pork-barrel projects costing you $17.2 billion in the fiscal 2008 budget. They were joined by leading opponents of this congressionally earmarked spending, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Topping this year’s list of outrageous special-interest projects are:

* $4,840,870 for wood utilization research;
* $1,529,220 for the Appalachian Fruit Lab;
* $984,400 for Idaho's strategic plan for managing noxious weeds; and
* $98,000 for a walking tour of Boydton, Va. (population 474).

Earmark reform is a hot topic in Washington these days, yet Congress' taste for spending on personal projects stays. There has been a decrease in earmark spending in the last few years, but over $17B is still a lot of waste in a secretive budgeting process.

For a donation of $25 or more, Citizens Against Government waste can mail you a copy of their annual book. Your contributions also help the work of this non-profit in its fight for fiscal discipline in DC.

US senator honors fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability

US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) replied to a letter I wrote to him as a constituent on the issue of spending earmarks. He agreed with me that we need more transparency and accountability in Congress, especially when it comes to spending the taxpayer's money. He co-sponsored the recent one-year earmark moratorium amendment that eventually failed to pass. He says the right words to me as a government reformer, and am honored to have him as one of my senators.

Here is a snippet of that letter of his:

" Members of Congress should have a say in how their constituents’ tax dollars are allocated, but every earmark should be openly debated and voted on. Taxpayers in Texas, and across the country, demand and deserve greater fiscal discipline and accountability in Washington, D.C. I have worked hard during my time in the Senate to reduce the size of government and eliminate wasteful spending—saving taxpayers’ money. Although the Senate did not pass this one-year moratorium amendment, it is my hope that by continuing to work together to fix the broken process by which we allocate federal dollars, Congress will send a clear message to the American people that we are listening.

America’s founding fathers understood a free society could not exist without informed citizens and an open, accessible government. That’s why strengthening government transparency and accountability has been among my highest priorities since coming to the Senate. The more information that we can put in the hands of the American people about what Congress does on a daily basis, the stronger our democracy will be. I can think of no area where accountability is more important than in the process of how Congress spends the money that Texans send to Washington. "