May 21, 2010
The DISCLOSE Act
Yesterday the House Administration Committee marked up H.R. 5175: The DISCLOSE Act. This legislation was developed in response to the January Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which eliminated restrictions on corporate treasury spending in elections. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations could use their general treasury funds for political expenditures because it represented an expression of free speech, protected by the First Amendment. H.R. 5175 is an effort to increase the transparency of these types of expenditures. It seeks to prevent the influence of foreign corporations, increase disclosure requirements on spending and prevent government contractors and bailout beneficiaries from making campaign expenditures.
My amendment requiring the spoken disclosure of the top 2 funders during a radio ad was accepted in committee. I offered the campaign public financing bill H.R. 1826: the Fair Elections Now Act as an amendment but it was ruled not germane to the legislation. I also offered my bill, H.R. 4790: The Shareholder Protection Act, as an amendment. You may recall that my bill requires a shareholder vote before a corporation can spend its general treasury funds on political activities. I recently wrote an op-ed on this bill, which appeared in Monday's Boston Herald. That amendment was not allowed because it was considered not germane to the legislation. I am disappointed but will continue working hard to advance my bill.
My Massachusetts House colleagues as well as Senator Kerry joined me this week in sending a letter to management officials at Supervalu, the parent company of Shaw's supermarkets, urging them to return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith with their union. For three months, 300 Shaw's warehouse workers have been on strike, and negotiations seem to have broken down, with no prospect of resuming any time soon. We understand there are many issues on the table. They should rightly be worked out through collective bargaining and agreement may not easily be reached. But nothing can be resolved without communication and we urged the company to demonstrate their respect for the collective bargaining process and for their employees by returning to the negotiating table.
Telephone Community Meetings
Thanks to those who participated in my recent telephone community meetings. We have posted audio files of the meetings on our website if you are interested in listening to some of the questions and answers.
What's Up Next Week
Next week the House is expected to consider the Defense Authorization bill and a tax extenders bill.