I wrote a letter to my local Senator Maria Cantwell… She replied. Reply

I don’t know that she actually read my letter.  It could have been a staffer that attached this custom response and sent it back, but I have to say that I have sent letters to other Senators and Congressmen.  This is the first response I have received that had anything to do with my letter.  I appreciate the fact that someone read the letter and had a legit response.  Here you go:

Dear Mr. Meyers,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

In 2007, Citizens United, a non-profit advocacy group, sued the Federal Election Commission to prevent it from enforcing certain provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). Among other things, the BCRA prevents corporations and labor unions from directly funding communications expressly advocating election or defeat of a federal candidate. In addition, corporations and unions are prohibited from funding “electioneering communications” 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.

One of my proudest achievements as your Senator was enacting the first meaningful campaign finance reform legislation in decades – the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. That legislation was a critical breakthrough in the long battle to rein in campaign spending, to make improvements in the way politics is conducted, and to make government more responsive to our citizens. It passed through Congress with overwhelming majorities, sending a clear signal of our intent to prevent special interest money from overwhelming our electoral process. I disagree with the Supreme Court’s holding the corporations should be granted the same rights as individual citizens and I worry that this ruling will open the door to a flood of corporate spending that will drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that these restrictions constitute a “ban on speech” in violation of the First Amendment. In effect, the ruling invalidates these provisions of the BCRA and overturns over 100 years of Supreme Court case law limiting the ability of corporations and unions to influence federal elections.

I believe that public financing is the best way to ensure that candidates can focus on the issues important to voters rather than raising money from special interests. Such an approach would help transform campaigns from negative attacks into substantive debates and government decision-making from a process influenced by money to one determined by ideas.

Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 33 on December 8, 2011. This resolution would propose an amendment to the Constitution that would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The resolution would reaffirm the authority of Congress and the states to regulate corporations and to set limits on all election contributions and expenditures. This resolution has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where it awaits further review. In order for the proposed amendment to the Constitution to be ratified, it would require the support of two-thirds of each House of Congress and ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. If enacted, this resolution would amend the Constitution to limit the number of terms that a member of Congress may serve. The proposed term limits in the House of Representatives would be three terms and two terms in the Senate.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely, Maria Cantwell United States Senator
For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

Shame on U.S. Reply

As we close in on Memorial day, my mind drifts to images to two soldiers dug into a fox hole sharing a lucky strike.  One has a bit of a Bronxified Italian accent, the other has a the diction of a news reporter.  They talk about the girls from back home they want to take to a drive-in picture show.  For the moment there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger of a Nazi soldier sneaking up on them even though you can hear the shells landing in the not-too-far-off distance.  Later the conversation drifts to the Yankees and Joe DiMaggio.  Neither one of them are old enough to buy a beer, but both enjoy another cigarette.

Almost every ten years we go to war.  Men and women die; we remain free.  I don’t mean free as in, I’m not an in shackles free, but something much more than just that.  I can wake up on Sunday and go to any kind of church I want.  At the beginning of the work week, I can mop floors or study at the university of my choice.  If I feel disenchanted with the government, I can voice my opinion at the top of my lungs, and go out to vote.  I can blog about it, update my Facebook status, or shoot out a tweet.  Bottom line, as long as I am not stepping on someone else’s rights, I can do just about any damn thing I like.

These freedoms have been paid for with blood, someones son, daughter, husband, wife, grandson, lover, etc. There are no words to explain the gratitude, just an understanding of what it has taken to get here.  The problem is that we are not holding up our end of the bargain.  Soldiers have died on our behalf to uphold our freedoms and we are allowing a failing government to ruin what our forefathers intended us.  Our nation has become bought and sold.  Our lawmakers campaign and fundraise the vast majority of their political lives.  While in office they fight for the people who put them there, their campaign donors.

Our veterans and those that we have lost did not fight to protect the corporatocracy of USA, they are fighting for the U.S.A. and our democratic values we are slowly, but surely, losing.  We owe it to them to research the people we vote for.  A thirty-second commercial does nothing to tell you about a candidate.  Look up their voting record.  Write a letter to your local congressman or woman about the stupidity of campaign finance and existence of Super PACs.  Do something to hold up our end of the deal we made with our sons, daughters, husbands, and mothers that fight for our rights!