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Ed Case on Government Reform

Former Democratic Representative (HI-2, until 2007)

 


Enact far-reaching campaign spending & lobbying reforms

Q: What are your top two goals and how will you achieve them if elected?

CASE: My top goal is to break through the division and dysfunction in D.C. today and start talking and working on our country's critical issues, including our federal deficit and debt, immigration, Social Security and Medicare, and international relations with a focus on the Asia-Pacific, to name just a few. Closely related is to enact far-reaching campaign spending, lobbying and related reforms to regain transparency and accountability in government and return our government to mainstream America. These reforms are advocated by Issue One (www.issueone.org) and its ReFormers Caucus, a group of now-over 200 former members of Congress, governors and cabinet members of which I am a member. The way forward on both fronts inside Congress is to find and work collectively with other Members of Congress who share our goals through Congress' own Reformers Caucus and other means.

Source: League of Women Voters 2018 House HI-1 Questionnaire , Sep 9, 2018

Only 8% of my campaign money comes from PACs

Democrat Ed Case sent out an email encouraging supporters to "follow the money" when it comes to Hirono donor's. Excerpt from Case's email: "Special interest PACs and other political committees. These mostly DC status quo defenders have contributed about $700,000 to Mazie and $10,000 to me in this race. Over our congressional careers fully 31% of Mazie's contrbutions (almost $1.9 million) have come from PACs compared with only 8% of mine. Mainland money. Fully 64% of all of Mazie's PAC and 'itemized' (over $200) contributions in this race have come from mainland donors, while 75% of mine have come from Hawai'i. (Candidates don't report the names and addresses of donors of $200 or less, but if we count those my Hawai'i contribution portion is higher.)"
Source: Honolulu Civil Beat on 2012 Hawaii Senate debate , May 10, 2012

Voted YES on restricting independent grassroots political committees.

A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say:
  • This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.
  • This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.
  • H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.
  • H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
    Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act"; Bill H.R.513 ; vote number 2006-088 on Apr 5, 2006

    Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.

    The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
    Reference: The Cheesburger Bill; Bill HR 554 ; vote number 2005-533 on Oct 19, 2005

    Voted YES on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.

    Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
    1. a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
    2. a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
    3. a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA]; Bill S.5 ; vote number 2005-038 on Feb 17, 2005

    Voted YES on restricting frivolous lawsuits.

    Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
    1. require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
    2. disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
    3. require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
    4. authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
    5. make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]; Bill H.R.4571 ; vote number 2004-450 on Sep 14, 2004

    Voluntary public financing for all general elections.

    Case 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

    Prohibit non-legislated earmarks.

    Case co-sponsored prohibiting non-legislated earmarks

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds for appropriations earmarks included only in congressional reports.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bill would prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds which have been earmarked only in congressional reports. This legislation is designed to help reign in unauthorized, unrequested, run-of-the-mill pork barrel projects.

    Report language does not have the force of law. That fact has been lost when it comes to appropriations bills and reports. It has become a standard practice to load up committee reports with literally billions of dollars in unrequested, unauthorized, and wasteful pork barrel projects.

    We simply must start making some very tough decisions around here if we are serious about improving our fiscal future. It is simply not fiscally responsible for us to continue to load up appropriations bills with wasteful and unnecessary spending, and good deals for special interests and their lobbyists. We have had ample opportunities to tighten our belts in this town in recent years, and we have taken a pass each and every time. We can't put off the inevitable any longer.

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management & Government Information; hearings held; never came to a vote.

    Source: Obligation of Funds Transparency Act (S.1495/H.R.1642) 05-S1495 on Jul 26, 2005

    PVS:Regulate campaign donations from corporations.

    Case supports the PVS survey question on regulating campaign donations

    Project Vote Smart inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Campaign Finance: Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?' PVS self-description: "The Political Courage Test provides voters with positions on key issues. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads."

    Source: PVS Survey 18PVS-16 on Aug 1, 2018

    Holiday on election day; revamp for easier voting access.

    Case voted YEA For the People Act of 2019

    Opposing argument from the Heritage Foundation, 2/1/2019: HR1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process. What HR1 Would Do:

    Legislative outcome: Passed House 234-193-5 on 3/8/19; received with no action in Senate thru 12/31/2019

    Source: Congressional vote 19-S949 on Jan 3, 2019

    Sponsored impeachment of Trump for inciting insurrection.

    Case voted YEA impeaching President Trump for inciting insurrection

    GovTrack.us summary of H.Res.24: Article of Impeachment Against Former President Donald John Trump:

    The House impeached President Trump for the second time, charging him with incitement of insurrection. The impeachment resolution accused the President of inciting the violent riot that occurred on January 6, when his supporters invaded the United States Capitol injuring and killing Capitol Police and endangering the safety of members of Congress. It cites statements from President Trump to the rioters such as `if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore,` as well as persistent lies that he won the 2020 Presidential election.

    Legislative Outcome:

    Bill introduced Jan 11, 2021, with 217 co-sponsors; House rollcall vote #117 passed 232-197-4 on Jan. 13th (a YES vote in the House was to impeach President Trump for inciting insurrection); Senate rollcall vote #59 rejected 57-43-0 on Feb. 13th (2/3 required in Senate to pass; a YES vote in the Senate would have found President Trump guilty, but since he had already left office at that time, a guilty verdict would have barred Trump from running for President in the future)

    Source: Congressional vote 21-HR24 on Jan 11, 2021

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    Page last updated: Dec 24, 2021