Monday, October 25, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

When I was a kid conservatives loved conservation, Teddy Roosevelt was their hero, and Republicans would have received top scores from a group like the League of Conservation Voters.  The times, and Republicans, have changed.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gives Lynn Jenkins a failing grade. Their scorecard on Jenkins can be found at Here's the summary.

1) H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009. Lynn Jenkins voted "yes" on the motion to recommit, a vote to kill the bill, and "no" on passage. According to the LCV HR 3534, The Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR), would implement commonsense reforms to overhaul safety and environmental rig standards, repair our broken and corrupt oil and gas leasing processes, and hold Big Oil responsible for disasters like the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

2) H.Res. 989, a resolution "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should adopt national policies and pursue international agreements to prevent ocean acidification, to study the impacts of ocean acidification, and to address the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and coastal economies". Lynn Jenkins voted "no" on roll call 341.

The LCV position is that "while increasing carbon dioxide emissions are a key factor in global climate change, these emissions are also the cause of another crisis emerging in our oceans: acidification. As carbon dioxide enters the ocean, it combines with seawater to from carbonic acid, thereby increasing the acidity of the water and reducing the availability of compounds which are vital to the development of the shells and skeletons of a variety of marine animals. Addressing the causes and effects of ocean acidification is essential to the long term viability of ocean ecosystems. H. Res. 989 encouraged the United States to take action on this critical issue that could have long term impacts on marine ecosystems and the coastal economies. LCV strongly encouraged support for the important resolution."

3) H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010. Lynn Jenkins voted "no" on roll call 255. According to the LCV, "The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 will significantly reduce pollution and create an estimated 168,000 clean energy jobs over the next two years. The Home Star residential retrofit program would provide rebates and incentives to consumers who invest in new energy efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, or purchase other efficient technologies for their home. Home Star would reduce energy consumption by the equivalent of three coal-fired power plants each year, if fully funded with $6 billion. In addition, through this program consumers are anticipated to save between $200 and $500 per year in energy costs, while reducing global warming pollution and improving the comfort and value of their homes."

4) H.R. 4715, the Clean Estuaries Act of 2010. Lynn Jenkins voted "no" on roll call 209. The LCV says, "Estuaries are coastal transition zones between fresh water from rivers and saline water from oceans. These unique ecosystems protect water quality and provide a buffer against erosion which protects our coastal communities during extreme weather events. Also, healthy estuaries provide recreational opportunities, essential wildlife habitat, and commercial and recreational fishing. The Clean Estuaries Act ensures that our nation's estuaries will better protect our communities and preserve wildlife habitat by:

•Requiring that estuaries in the NEP identify vulnerabilities to climate change and plan for adaptation responses

•Requiring that each approved estuary program be evaluated every four years and the results be publicly released

•Increasing federal attention to local priorities and requiring federal agencies to participate in the planning process

•Increasing the authorization for the program from $35 million to $50 million annually for fiscal years 2011 through 2016

Since estuaries are important to our public health and our wildlife, and play a major role in creating jobs and boosting local economies, no oil and gas development take place in National Estuary Program areas. This type of development would be inconsistent with goals and purpose of the NEP.

Funding and strengthening the NEP will protect the nation's estuaries from pollution, development and overuse. Protecting our nation's estuaries helps ensures clean water for our communities and a healthy environment for wildlife."

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The 2010 midterm elections brings unprecedented amounts of special interest money into the political arena. American voters are being persuaded by a barrage of advertisements, often stating incorrect or misleading facts, paid for by groups that are now known as SUPER PACs.

The Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.Org reports these SUPER PACs are both liberal and conservative. The top two groups are the conservative American Crossroads, having shelled out $17,467,291 and the liberal America's Families First Action Fund, doling out $4,843,604. That's more than a $12 million gap between first and second! The full list of SUPER PACs can be found at:

These SUPER PACs came into being after SpeechNow.Org v. FEC. The SpeechNow decision is first case to be decided under the precedent of Citizens United.

The plaintiffs, SpeechNow, sought relief from the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia. They want to engage in express advocacy, supporting candidates for federal office who share their views on First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom to assemble. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) issued a draft opinion requiring SpeechNow to register as a Political Action Committee (PAC). This registration is required under the Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA) according to the FEC.

SpeechNow sued under 2 U.S.C. §437(h) of FECA, allowing them to challenge the constitutionality of any FECA provision. The District Court properly certified the constitutional questions directly to the Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The appellate court took the matter for en banc consideration, that is all of the judges on the Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard the case.

During the pendency of the case before the appellate court the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in the matter of Citizens United v, FEC. That case resolved the issues for the appellate court in SpeechNow.

The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(1)(C) and 441a(a)(3) are unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow.

2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(1)(C) and 441a(a)(3) are provisions of FECA. 2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(1)(C) was the statute applicable for dollar limits on contributions "to any other political committee (other than a committee described in subparagraph (D)) in any calendar year which, in the aggregate, exceed $5,000," so it was the $5,000 limit.

2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(3) was the statute applicable for dollar limits on contributions "During the period which begins on January 1 of an odd-numbered year and ends on December 31 of the next even-numbered year, no individual may make contributions aggregating more than— (A) $37,500, in the case of contributions to candidates and the authorized committees of candidates; (B) $57,500, in the case of any other contributions, of which not more than $37,500 may be attributable to contributions to political committees which are not political committees of national political parties."

Thus the lid is lifted for America's most wealthy to throw their monetary weight around. Is it no wonder Republicans oppose ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2 per cent of Americans?

The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C, Circuit went on to rule that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§ 432, 433, and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. § 431(4) and 431(8) can constitutionally be applied to SpeechNow.

Section 432 pertains to the organization of political committees. This section requires each PAC to have a treasurer, to keep an accounting of the funds raised and to segregate those monies from the individual account of any person, and to engage in certain recordkeeping and reporting requirements. SUPERPACS must still have a treasurer, keep money in segregated accounts, and following recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

Section 433 pertains to disclosure in the registration of political committees. This section details the steps the political committee must take to register, show the segregation of monies, lists the requirements of the statements, and details how the political committee can terminate.

Section 434 pertains to reporting requirements. This section says that reports of contributions and disbursements must be made at certain times. When, under this section, a political committee's contributions reach $100,000 then these reports must be made on a monthly basis. The reporting requirements under this section may succinctly be described as being rigorous.

Section 431(4) defines a political committee as a) a committee that either receives or disburses more than $1,000 a year; b) the segregated accounts established by this section; or c) any local committee of a political party raising or spending more than $5,000.

Section 431(8) defines contributions. This section is representative of what Americans think about loopholes. You should read it for yourself. It says, in detail, what is and what is not a contribution. For instance consider this subsection of the statute:

any loan of money by a State bank, a federally chartered depository institution, or a depository institution the deposits or accounts of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, or the National Credit Union Administration, other than any overdraft made with respect to a checking or savings account, made in accordance with applicable law and in the ordinary course of business, but such loan—

(I) shall be considered a loan by each endorser or guarantor, in that proportion of the unpaid balance that each endorser or guarantor bears to the total number of endorsers or guarantors;

(II) shall be made on a basis which assures repayment, evidenced by a written instrument, and subject to a due date or amortization schedule; and

(III) shall bear the usual and customary interest rate of the lending institution;
Do you think a loan, as described above, with the money going to a candidate, is a contribution or not? It is not.

Back to the Center for Responsive Politics who list the SUPERPACS. Go to their site: Click on American Crossroads. When that page comes up click on "Donors" and the page will tell you that this SUPERPAC that no individual donors gave more than $200 during this campaign cycle. Then click the tab for "Recipients" and the page will tell you that did not make any contributions in excess of $200 for this campaign cycle. The data for American Crossroads does not appear to be unique in its deficiency. The America's Families First Action Fund yielded even less data than did American Crossroads.

To be fair the American Crossroads data disclosed independent expenditures within the past two weeks.

The law to which SUPERPACs are subject requires reporting the identity of persons giving more than $200. 

The appellate court in SpeechNow made these observations:

SpeechNow would be required to, among other things: appoint a treasurer, § 432(a); maintain a separately designated bank account, § 432(b), 432(h); keep records for three years that include the name and address of any person who makes a contribution in excess of $50, § 432(c)(1)-(2), 432(d); keep records for three years that include the date, amount, and purpose of any disbursement and the name and address of the recipient, § 432(c)(5), 432(d); register with the FEC within ten days of becoming a political committee, § 433(a); file with the FEC quarterly or monthly reports during the calendar year of a general election detailing cash on hand, total contributions, the identification of each person who contributes an annual aggregate amount of more than $200, independent expenditures, donations to other political committees, any other disbursements, and any outstanding debts or obligations, § 434(a)(4), 434(b); file a pre-election report and a post-election report detailing the same, id.; file semiannual or monthly reports with the same information during years without a general election, id.; and file a written statement in order to terminate the committee, § 433(d).(emphasis added)
The bottom line is that it appears that SUPERPACS are not making reports of contributors as required by FECA.

SpeechNow.Org petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari.  The question presented to the court is The question presented is "whether, under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, the federal government may require an unincorporated association that makes only independent expenditures to register and report as a political committee despite the fact that a more narrowly tailored means of disclosing its independent expenditures exists in 2 U.S.C. § 434(c)."

2 U.S.C. § 434(c)says:
(C) Notification of disposal of excess contributions.— In the next regularly scheduled report after the date of the election for which a candidate seeks nomination for election to, or election to, Federal office, the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committee shall submit to the Commission a report indicating the source and amount of any excess contributions (as determined under paragraph (1) of section 441a (i) of this title) and the manner in which the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committee used such funds.
What the SUPER PACs are doing is ignoring the decision of the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of D.C. and pretending that they have already won their appeal in the Supreme Court.  What they want is the capacity to raise large amounts of money for the purpose of influencing American elections without disclosing the source of those funds.  No application for a Stay of the orders below pursuant to S.Ct. Rule 23 appear in the Court's file:

The briefs have been distributed for Conference beginning in five days.  Thereafter we will know if the Court will grant the petition for certirorari.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

Public Law 111-259 received the President's signature on October 7th. This is the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and came from the House as H.R. 2701. Lynn Jenkins voted against H.R. 2701 on February 26th, when it passed the House by a margin of 235 to 168, roll call number 73. The bill passed through the Senate, with an amendment, by unanimous consent. Before returning to campaign for re-election Lynn Jenkins voted "no" on the bill that funds America's Intelligence Community as our troops are on the ground, roll call 558.

The Senate amendment was in the nature of a substitute, which means the language of the amendment supplants the original language of the bill. This amendment was proffered by California's Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein with retiring Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri cosponsoring.

This was not a case of smoke and mirrors as the Senate Amendment was germane to the bill. Senators Feinstein and Bond are well known for their expertise on matters of Intelligence. Senator Feinstein is the chairman of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence. Senator Bond is the co-chairman of that committee. These are persons who know what the talk about when it comes to Intelligence.

Was Lynn Jenkins opposed to the Director of National Intelligence making publicly available an unclassified summary of: (1) intelligence relating to recidivism of detainees currently or formerly held by DOD at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and (2) the likelihood that such detainees will engage in terrorism or communicate with persons in terrorist organizations?

Is she opposed to transparency in the appropriations process? The law amends the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 to: (1) direct the President, on the same date that each annual budget is submitted, to disclose the aggregate amount of appropriations requested for that fiscal year for the NIP; and (2) direct the DNI, within 30 days after each fiscal year, to disclose the aggregate amount of funds appropriated by Congress for the NIP for that fiscal year. Authorizes the President to waive either disclosure by submitting to the intelligence committees a statement that such disclosure would damage national security, supported by the President's reasoning.

Could it be she didn't like the new law's auditing aspects? The bill she voted against, now law, amends the Inspector General Act of 1978 to require the heads of the National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to appoint independent inspectors general for their agencies (thus giving such inspectors general the same information-gathering power and independence as is currently held by inspectors general of other federal agencies). Allows the Secretary of Defense to prohibit the inspector general of an IC element from initiating, carrying out, or completing any audit or investigation if the Secretary determines that the prohibition is necessary to protect vital US national security interests. Requires notification of such determination to the defense and intelligence committees.

Or did she thinks it costs too much?

What America can ill afford is a Congresswoman shortchanging our Intelligence Community.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christine O'Donnell, the Separations of Powers Doctrine, and Nino Scalia

With the stubbornness of a child, Christine O'Donnell appears to lack the capacity to apply reason and logic to issues of constitutional law. This week O'Donnell asked her Democratic opponent for Delaware's Senate Seat where in the Constitution can separation of church and state be found.

Ms. O'Donnell's timing couldn't have been worse. The debate was held at the Widener School of Law. When O'Donnell asked Chris Coons the fatal question the audience responded with laughter and dismay.

Christine O'Donnell comes from that silly school of constitutional interpretation that says if those exact specific words are not found in the actual text, then the concept is not constitutionally sound. We heard this before, and given the opportunity Associate Justice Antonin "Nino" Scalia will affirm this error. Scalia is of the school that since the actual word "privacy" is not found in the Constitution there is no right to privacy.

O'Donnell is correct those words are not found in the Constitution. What is found in the Constitution is the First Amendment. The First Amendment provides two important clauses regarding religion. First is the Establishment Clause, which prohibits the federal government from establishing religion. Second is the Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits the government from interfering with a person's free exercise of their religion.

It is generally understood and accepted that the First Amendment's Establishment Clause provides the underpinnings of the doctrine of Separation of Church and State. It is hardly conceivable that the Founding Fathers could have anticipated the actual language which would come to frame the Establishment Clause.

Where then did "Separation of Church and State" come into being? We can thank the good folk of the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association for their letter to the newly inaugurated President Thomas Jefferson. These Baptists were concerned about whether they were able to practice their religious beliefs as inalienable rights or as favors granted by the state.

President Jefferson replied, in pertinent part:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." (Emphasis Added).

Jefferson succinctly summarized the tension between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause as a wall of separation. If Christine O'Donnell cannot wrap her mind around this important construct of American liberty then she does not have the smarts to provide the independent judgment necessary to be a United States Senator.

Most of the case law dealing with the Establishment Clause is recent. There appears only one older case. In Bradfield v. Roberts, (1899), the federal government funded a hospital for the District of Columbia. The contract for the hospital was granted to a Roman Catholic religious order of the "Sisters of Charity". The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Associate Justice Rufus Peckham, said that there was a secular purpose in establishing the hospital.

The fact that the hospital was being run by nuns was only an incidental factor, the purpose of the hospital was to provide health care, rather than establish Roman Catholicism as our religion. That institution, Providence Hospital, continues in operation today as part of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.

In 1947 the Supreme Court opened the modern line of Establishment Clause cases with Everson v. Board of Education. In that case a New Jersey statute authorized parents of parochial school students to be reimbursed for the expenses of school bus fees. Associate Justice Hugo Black said Jefferson got it correct and that the Establishment Clause was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state. Neither the state or federal government, said Black, could establish a religion. The New Jersey law was upheld because the law applied to all citizens equally, the secular purpose of the law was to provide the safe transportation of children, and the payments went to the parents of the children instead of to the Church.

A case which did not reach the United States Supreme Court was heard by New Mexico's courts and is known as the Dixon School Case, see Zellers v. Huff, 55 N.M. 501, 236 P.2d 949 (1951). Here the local public schools were abolished by the local school board which in turn recognized the Roman Catholic parochial school system as the public schools. Protestant parents protested to no avail and brought suit. The trial judge ruled the state had violated the separation of church and state doctrine. The New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed, and neither party sought further relief from the federal courts.

The Scalia school of constitutional interpretation wants bright lines and abhors the shadows where the jurist must rely on reasoned analysis to provide consistence, coherence, and clarity to the brick and mortar upon which stare decisis is built by case law. These folks want a test to say all ilk and manner of religion sponsored in any way shape or form by government is wrong, or the doctrine of separation of church and state is a fraud.

There is a test. It was developed by a unanimous Supreme Court in the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman. The Lemon Test has three prongs. 1) There must be a secular legislative purpose supporting the government's actions. 2) The primary effect of the governmental action must to neither advance or inhibit religious activity. 3) No excessive governmental entanglements with religion can result.

Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote the opinion in Lemon v. Kurtzman. In 1968 Pennsylvania passed a law reimbursing religious (typically Roman Catholic) schools for the salaries of teachers who taught secular subject matter, books and supplies for non-religious schools. The net result was that parochial schools were being subsidized by the state in contravention of the Establishment Clause. Without the reimbursements the parochial schools would not be able to provide for these teachers, books, and materials. Associate Justice William Douglas offers a good brief history of recent Establishment Clause cases in his concurrence.

Scalia doesn't like the Lemon Test. He said so in the case of Lambs Chapel and John Stiegerwald v. Center Moriches Union School District. Note: the case was decided on the basis of the First Amendment's Free Speech clause using the same test employed for Separation of State cases. A New York statute permitted local school districts to make their facilities available to community groups after-hours. Moriches Union allowed community groups discussing family issues to use their facilities after-hours. Enter a church armed with the video lectures of noted Christian Psychologist Dr. James Dobson. I am not a huge fan of Dr. Dobson but I am a huge fan of the concept that more speech is better than less speech. Since the facility was available to persons discussing family values from a non-Christian perspective it is impermissible to deny Christians the opportunity to use the facility because of their theological perspective.

The majority opinion was written by Associate Justice Bryon White. Associate Justice Scalia wrote a concurring opinion in which he said:

"As to the Court's invocation of the Lemon test: Like some ghoul in a late night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District."
"I cannot join for yet another reason: the Court's statement that the proposed use of the school's facilities is constitutional because (among other things) it would not signal endorsement of religion in general. What a strange notion, that a Constitution which itself gives "religion in general" preferential treatment (I refer to the Free Exercise Clause) forbids endorsement of religion in general. The Attorney General of New York not only agrees with that strange notion, he has an explanation for it: "Religious advocacy," he writes, "serves the community only in the eyes of its adherents and yields a benefit only to those who already believe." That was not the view of those who adopted our Constitution, who believed that the public virtues inculcated by religion are a public good. It suffices to point out that during the summer of 1789, when it was in the process of drafting the First Amendment, Congress enacted the famous Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1789, Article III of which provides, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." 1 Stat. 52 . Unsurprisingly, then, indifference to "religion in general" is not what our cases, both old and recent, demand. See, e. g., Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313-314 (1952) ("When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions"); Walz v. Tax Comm'n of New York City, 397 U.S. 664 (1970) (upholding property tax exemption for church property); Lynch, 465 U. S., at 673 (the Constitution "affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions . . . . Anything less would require the `callous indifference' we have said was never intended" (citations omitted)); ("our precedents plainly contemplate that on occasion some advancement of religion will result from governmental action"); Marsh, supra; Presiding Bishop, supra (exemption for religious organizations from certain provisions of Civil Rights Act)."
Nino Scalia, Christine O'Donnell, and those like them are all for the Free Exercise Clause being rigorously enforced, as it should be. They want to minimize the Establishment Clause into the isolated incident where the Congress says that a particular sect, denomination, religion, or cult is the official religion of these United States. That de minimis view of the Establishment Clause does violence to the tension President Jefferson recognized between the two clauses and reminds me of a Rogers and Hammerstein lyric from the musical Oklahoma.

The song is called All Er Nothin: With me it's all er nuthin'. Is it all er nuthin' with you? It cain't be in between It cain't be now and then" With Scalia and O'Donnell no half and half decision will do.

How simple the world would be if we insisted the tough issues be pretended away.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

Lynn Jenkins represent Koch Industries, not us. Koch Industries has given or directed $35,500 to Lynn Jenkins for this year's race to retain their input on her vote. The Koch's didn't get rich by giving money away for nothing.

Koch Industries gave Lynn Jenkins a direct donation of $5,500. By Koch standards that's pretty tame. Kansas' Todd Tiahrt, the loser in the GOP Senatorial Primary, got more Koch Cash than anyone else; $38,850. The Republican who wants to be Tiahrt's successor, Michael Richard Pompeo has taken $31,400 in Koch Cash. Ol' Roy Blunt, running for the seat being vacated by Kit Bond in Missouri received $14.800 in Koch Cash. The complete list of Koch Cash recipients can be found at the Center for Responsive Politics,

The money trail only begins with the direct donations. Koch Industries provides a classic example of what's wrong with corporate money in our political campaigns. The Koch's send Koch Cash to political action committees (PACs). The PACs turn around and give the Koch Cash to the Koch Candidates. How cozy!

Koch Industries gave the political action committee Freedom Project $10,000. That PAC then gave Lynn Jenkins $10,000. Koch Industries gave the Every Republican is Crucial PAC $10,000. The Every Republican is Crucial PAC then gave Lynn Jenkins $10,000. Koch Industries gave the Growth & Prosperity PAC $10,000. The Growth & Prosperity PAC gave $5,000 to Lynn Jenkins. Koch Industries gave $5,000 to Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism. They in turn gave Lynn Jenkins $2,500. Koch Industries gave the Restore America Pac $5,000. The Restore America PAC gave Lynn Jenkins $2,500.

Now let's connect the dots. Koch Industries spends Koch Cash to lobby the Congress. Below is a partial list of legislation about which Koch Industries lobbied, their position, and the position taken by Lynn Jenkins, bills remaining in committee are not listed.

H. R. 2868 the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009. Lynn Jenkins voted "No". Are the Koch's and Lynn Jenkins placing profit above national security?

H.R. 2454 the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Lynn Jenkins voted "No". Are the Koch's and Lynn Jenkins placing profit above national security?

H.R. 4173 the Dodd - Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Lynn Jenkins voted "No".

H.R. 391 a bill to amend the Clean Air Act to provide that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act, a favorite Koch topic. Lynn Jenkins is a co- sponsor of the legislation. There is a pending Motion to Discharge Committee (meaning the bill is otherwise dead in committee).

S. 1660 the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act passed the House by voice vote and became law.

H.R. 3617 the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2009. This bill passed with a required ⅔ majority. Lynn Jenkins voted "Yes".

H.R. 4213 the Unemployment Compensation Act of 2009. Lynn Jenkins voted "No."

H.R. 977 the Derivatives Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2009 has been discharged from the Judiciary Committee and placed on the Union Calendar.

H.R. 5629 the Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act of 2010 has been discharged from the Committee on Natural Resources and placed on the Union Calendar.

H.R. 2892 the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010, also known as the American Communities' Right to Public Information Act. Lynn Jenkins voted "No" on passage and "Yes" on agreeing to the Conference Report.

H.R. 3288 the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010. Lynn Jenkins voted "No".

H.R. 5366 the Overseas Contractor Reform Act passed the House with the required ⅔ majority (409 to 0). Lynn Jenkins voted "Yes".
The full list of legislation about which Koch Industries has lobbied Congress can be found at the Center for Responsive Politics, see:

According to the Center for Responsive Politics Kansas' home grown tycoons have spent $3,900,00 in 2010 for lobbying. That's a far cry from their heyday of 2008 when the Brothers Koch Industriously shelled out $20,023,000 lobbying the last session of Congress. And who said restraint wasn't the language of love?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

H.R. 6160 is the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010. What, you may ask, does that have to do with the price of tea in China? That is the exact correct question. China is dominating the world supply of "rare earths" and directly undermines our national security.

Representative Kathleen A. Dahlkemper

The author of the legislation is Pennsylvania's Democratic Representative Kathleen A. Dahlkemper. Her remarks on H.R. 6160 can be found at I have excerpted Representative Dahlkemper's remarks here.

“What would happen to our national defense if we could no longer build a jet engine? Vehicle batteries? Advanced targeting systems? What are the chances that we become energy independent if we cannot produce hybrid cars, wind turbines and other alternative energy products? What would happen to our economy if the technologies we depend on to make businesses work are no longer available? 
“These are questions we would have to answer if China cut off our supply of rare earth materials—vital components to nearly every piece of advanced technology we use in our national defense and throughout businesses and industry.
“For the past decade, the United States has been almost entirely dependent on China for its supply of rare earth materials, despite the fact that we have an abundant reserve of these materials within our own borders. China currently accounts for as much as 97 percent of the world’s available supply of rare earth materials.
“But they are reducing the amount of these materials going into the global market. Just this summer, China announced it would cut its rare earths exports for the second half of 2010 by 72 percent.

The bottom line is this: China is cornering the market on rare earth materials and we are falling behind. That is why we need to act now to begin the process of creating our own domestic supply of rare earth materials so the United States is never dependent on China—or on any other country—for crucial components for our national security.

“My bill is a bipartisan plan to jump start U.S. research and development in rare earth materials to improve our ability to find, extract, process and use rare earths to improve products. We want to ultimately create a domestic supply of rare earths.

“My legislation will foster a strong rare earths industry here in the United States. The scope of this bill spans the full supply chain, from exploration to mining to manufacturing. It will reduce risk in financing new rare earths production facilities by guaranteeing loans to companies with new processing and refining technologies.

“China has stated clearly that foreign firms that move their manufacturing capacity onto Chinese soil will have no trouble procuring rare earth materials. That’s just another way American manufacturing jobs are being lured overseas.

“That has to stop. We need to make things right here in our country and give those great manufacturing jobs to American men and women here.

“This legislation is both urgent and timely. Just last week, China reportedly cut off Japan’s supply of rare earths in the wake of a territory conflict.

“This is a clear warning sign, and we would be foolish to ignore it. The GAO reports that it may take up to 15 years to rebuild the U.S. rare earth supply chain. Delaying the seed money to begin this process only prolongs our dependency on China.

“I am pleased that representatives on both sides of the aisle supported my plan to jump start our own rare earths supply chain, promote U.S. global competitiveness and ensure our national defense is Made in America.

“So, yesterday was a very good day for manufacturers in Western Pennsylvania and a good day for U.S. global competitiveness.” 
Lynn Jenkins voted against our national security on roll call vote 555. The Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010 passed the House by a vote of 325 to 98.

On back to back votes, roll call votes 554 and 555, Lynn Jenkins has stood with China against America's economic and national security. Lynn Jenkins does not represent us.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

China has been propping up its currency. Lynn Jenkins apparently thinks that is okay. What are the effects of China's currency policies? First a little detail about Chinese money. The Chinese yuan is like the British pound, it is the unit of accounting. The Chinese renminbi is like the British sterling, it is the unit of currency.

According to the International Monetary Fund, China's exchange rate policy contributes to large trade deficits in the United States. The overvalued Chinese currency has a negative impact on economic growth and job creation. The Chinese are placing a drag on international trade policies, making it more difficult for countries to import and export goods. The overvalued Chinese yuan depresses interest rates and may be a contributing, if not exacerbating, factor in the recent global economic crisis. The Chinese policy distorts investment patterns as China looks for overseas investments of accumulated American dollars to keep the renminbi undervalued.

One economist, Peter Morici, formerly the chief economist of the International Trade Commission, said the U.S. trade deficit with China will reduce American Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by more than $400 billion.

The 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Paul Krugman, estimates that China's exchange rate policy reduces American GDP by 1.4 to 1.5 percentage points each year and equals 1.4 to 1.5 million fewer American jobs each year.

The budgetary implications of H.R. 2378 estimate that this bill will produce $125 million in revenue, from increased customs duties, for the period of fiscal years 2011 - 2020, while costing $41 million for salaries, expenses, & benefits for additional staff. The bill does not trigger the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The pay-go considerations show the bill increases revenues and does not involve direct spending .

Although discussions have been held on this topic with China, they refuse to budge from their position.

So what part of Chinese monetary policy does Lynn Jenkins favor? Does she like the cheap lead laden toys dumped on our kids? Does she like America being a debtor nation to China? Does she favor Chinese people working rather than American people working?

To summarize China's monetary policy gives the United States large trade deficits which means it is costing us more money than it is worth to do business with China; economic growth and job creation are stunted; international trade is negatively impacted restricting the flow of goods between nations; Chinese monetary policy made the global economic crisis worse; China is investing American dollars to keep the Chinese renminbi artificially cheap.

So what to do? The House of Representatives has answered with H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which contains sections amending Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930 to clarify that countervailing duties may be imposed to address subsidies relating to a fundamentally undervalued currency.

What could keep a fiscally responsible incumbent Republican Representative to Congress from voting for H.R. 2378? Maybe it is the Chamber of Congress' China Connection.

The U.S. Chamber of Congress endorsed Lynn Jenkins' candidacy on June 29th.

The problem with the Chamber's endorsement is that the Chamber lobbied for TARP and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as that legislation was necessary to keep Chamber members on life support until the most critical part of the economic crisis passed. Lynn Jenkins is opposed to the Stimulus, and the TARP predates her tenure in the House.

The other huge problem with the Chamber's endorsement is that MSNBC and other sources were reporting last night that Chamber membership is now open to foreign corporations. Those corporations are sending their checks directly into the same Chamber of Commerce checking account the Chamber uses to pay for attack ads against Democratic candidates.

Remember when Associate Justice Sam Alito retorted to President Obama's remark that the decision in Citizen's United would not permit foreign corporations from influencing American elections? Well here it is. The Chamber of Commerce needs to be investigated by the Department of Justice for being a front for Chinese, Indian, and other foreign corporations attempting to buy influence in American politics.

The Republicans are voting to keep tax credits that encourage shipping American jobs offshore. The Republicans are voting to keep the import duties down on Chinese products, costing America direct revenues from customs and duties, costing America at least $400 billion in GDP, and costing America close to a 1,500,000 American jobs each year.

Ironically, Lynn Jenkins claims she should be reelected because she has been fighting for jobs. Well, she voted against American jobs when she voted against H.R. 2378, roll call 554. She voted against keeping American jobs in America when she voted closing tax loopholes that let American jobs get shipped overseas, that was H.R. 1586 the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act of 2010. Some record!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

We remember. We remember the dastardly attacks on civilians September 11, 2001. We remember the blazing twin towers. We remember the firefighters and police officers that rushed headlong into danger. We remember the towers falling, the dust cloud rolling through the concrete and steel canyons of New York, and the devastation of ground zero. We remember the brave souls that went in, waded through the debris, painstakingly took the devastation apart, paused to honor the fallen as they came upon their bodies, and cleaned up the place afterwards. Now Lynn Jenkins wants to forget.

We Remember

Serious health problems face the men and women who encountered, first hand, the most cowardly attack to hit America. Lynn Jenkins (whose prior response to health care was to do it the responsible way) wants us to take no responsibility for the health consequences of these victims of 9/11. Airborne toxins were released when those buildings fell. These workers were exposed to those poisons because they responded to America at a time of peril. Lynn Jenkins thinks they should be on their own.

We Remember

H.R. 847 is the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, it passed the House of Representatives on roll call vote 550, September 29th. The margin of passage was 268 to 160. Lynn Jenkins voted against H.R. 847.

The bill established the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program which is charged with providing initial health screenings and follow-up for WTC responders. The legislation contains provisions to prevent fraud and unreasonable administrative costs.

Not every Republican voted against H.R. 847. Louisiana Representative Anh "Joseph" Cao voted "yes". Delaware Representative Mike Castle voted "yes". Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole voted "yes". Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent voted "yes". New Jersey Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen voted "yes". Pennsylvania Representative Jim Gerlach voted "yes". North Carolina Representative Walter B. Jones voted "yes". New York Representative Peter King voted "yes". Illinois Representative Mark Kirk voted "yes". New Jersey Representative Leonard Lance voted "yes". New York Representative Frank LoBiondo voted "yes". California Representative Daniel E. Lungren voted "yes". Pennsylvania Representative Tim Murphy voted "yes". Pennsylvania Representative Todd Platts voted "yes". Tennessee Representative Phil Roe voted "yes". New Jersey Representative Chris Smith voted "yes". Those sixteen Republican Representatives remembered 9/11, good for them, they are Republicans second and Americans first.

Lynn Jenkins forgets or never understood, shame on her.

Monday, October 4, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

H.R. 4785, the Rural Energy Savings Program Act, will make money available under the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Services (RUS) so they can make loans to their customers to purchase and install off the shelf energy saving technology. That could be dual pane, low E, argon filled windows, roof top solar-electric systems, energy efficient electric water heaters, or small wind turbines. Rural customers are facing increased electric utility costs and this is a bill that let's tem get affordable loans to reduce those costs. That's a good idea, right? That would be included in an "all of the above approach" to solving our energy concerns, right?  Well apparently not for Lynn Jenkins.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the RUS will be able to leverage $993 million into between $4 billion and $5 billion in loans to local electric cooperatives. CBO estimates RUS will spend $800 million over the next four fiscal years. There are no Pay-As-You-Go considerations because enacting   H.R. 4785 does not impact direct spending or revenue. We're making loans here not handouts, it does not affect direct spending. H.R. 4785 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.

Here is an opportunity for a Representative to Congress whose district is largely rural to vote for a program that will let people borrow money to go their local farm center or hardware store and buy the technology to reduce their electric bill.

The bill defines rural as a community of less than 50,000 population and not contiguous, or next to, an urban area. The loans bear a 3% interest rate. That's got to be a winner for a Representative from a largely rural district. But not for Lynn Jenkins who voted against H.R. 4785 on roll call vote 530 on September 16th. The margin was 240 to 142.

Electric Utilities only gave Lynn Jenkins a mere $4,250, so this is probably Lynn Jenkins following the party line. Lynn Jenkins votes with the Party of No 95.40% according to the Washington Post. See,

When Lynn Jenkins is voting "no" with the Party of No she is voting against her constituents living in rural Kansas.  H.R. 4785 has been sent to the Senate.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

Anyone remember when we were captivated by the un-natural disaster of British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon? That was once the oil rig, with safety features disengaged, that blew apart, killing workers, and spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Do you remember it now?

That's good, because apparently Lynn Jenkins has forgotten. Lynn Jenkins who likes to claim that she's for "all of the above" in energy policy includes corporate malfeasance in that list of answers to our energy needs.

H.R. 5851, the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2010 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 315 to 93, roll call vote 506 on July 30th. Lynn Jenkins was among those stalwarts of Big Oil voting against this measure.

H.R. 5851 prohibits employers from discharging, discriminating against, or engaging in retaliatory actions against specified employees reporting any violation or unsafe condition under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to the government. The oil companies can't attack their employees for testifying about such conditions. Nor can they take punitive measures if the employee reports an illness, injury, or unsafe condition related to the employer's activities to the employer or a state or federal government official. The same whistleblower protections apply if the employee refuses to perform duties, or exercises stop work authority, based upon a good faith belief that performing such duties could result in injury to or impairment of the health of the covered employee or other employees, or cause an oil spill to the environment; or objects to, or refuses to participate in any activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee reasonably believed to be in violation of such the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

It is clear that a majority of the House understood what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. So why did Lynn Jenkins vote with Big Oil? Maybe it has something to do with that revolving door from public sector work to the lucrative private sector. It seems that someone or some folk over at the United States Environmental Protection Agency gave Lynn Jenkins $4,700 according to at the Center for Responsive Politics,

While it is not common for employees of the EPA to donate to political campaigns, neither is it an unheard practice. Employees of the EPA have donated $2,400 to Republican candidate Sean R. Bielat in this year's race for Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District. Deforest (Buster) Sories the 2002 Republican candidate for New Jerseys' Twelfth Congressional District took $5,700 from folks at the EPA.

Michigan's Democratic Representative Sander Levin took $2,000 from someone at the EPA in his 2004 race. That was long before he held the gavel at Ways and Means. Georgia's Republican Representative Charles R. Norwood also took money with an EPA connection in 2004. He got $2,000. The Center for Responsive Politics also lists the U.S. Government as giving his campaign $3,000! What's that all about? See,

In 2006 it was Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind who received $2,000 from a person working at the EPA. That year Colorado, then Republican Representative, now American Constitution Party candidate for Colorado Governor, Tom Tancredo took $1,500.

In 2008 the honor went to Virginia's Democratic Senator Jim Webb, who received $5,000.

Civil Servants do not lose their First Amendment Rights when they become public sector employees. It would be wrong to impugn illicit motive to those at the EPA who gave money to politicians. It would be stupid not to follow the track from public sector donor to Big Oil's high paid executive status. If there is a connection it should be provable and prosecutable.

In the meantime, Lynn Jenkins' vote on H.R. 5861 has to be viewed in light of the Oil & Gas Industry's payments to her campaign of $46,800. See, That's for this year's race. Lynn Jenkins is at the end of her first term and the Oil & Gas cumulative total is $109,550.

Cheryl Hudspeth refuses to take a cent of corporate cash. Lynn Jenkins is wallowing in the stuff, and she votes like it too!

Either it is Lynn Jenkins short memory, or the massive infusion of special interest money that drives her vote on H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009. Always remember and never forget the cozy relationship between the Minerals Management Services (MMS) and the Oil and Gas Management program both of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

According to The Hill's Ben Geman, Acting Inspector General (IG) Mary Kendall's office is conducting an investigation into the actions of MMS officials focused on their inspection and approval of the Deepwater Horizon . In May, Kendall released a report that found that MMS regulators in Louisiana were receiving gifts from oil and gas companies prior to 2007. A 2008 IG report uncovered a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity at MMS' Denver office.

H.R. 3534 takes these suspect agencies out of BLM and transfers them to a newly established Interior Department Office of Federal Energy and Minerals Leasing. Given the history of MMS under the BLM this is reasonable.

Big Oil was content to keep things the way they were. Lynn Jenkins is raking in a little more than $25,000 a year, so far, from the FAT CATS from BIG OIL & GAS. Lynn Jenkins was more than willing to forget the catastrophic results of the Deepwater Horizon. SPILL BABY SPILL! The vote was 209 to 193, on roll call vote 513 July 30th. Lynn Jenkins is against fixing that which is broken , she voted "no" on H.R. 3534. "no" on H.R. 3554. See,

Lynn Jenkins voted "no" on H.R. 3554 on roll call vote 513, July 30th.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Alaska's late Senator Ted Stevens

Perhaps Global Warming will have its epitaph written as a legacy of the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. Alaska's Tea Party Challenged  - write-in candidate, Lisa Murkowski has introduced Memorial Legislation to honor Ted Stevens, S. 3820. A companion bill, H.R. 6197, has been introduced to the House by Alaska's Republican Representative Don Young.

An extremely large component of their bills is the 8,340 square miles to be designated the "Ted Stevens Icefield." The proposed area includes the Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Nelchina, Tazlina, Valdez, and Shoup Glaciers.

The late Alaskan politician was once known for his opposition to Global Warming. In 2007 he reversed course recognizing that human contributions to climate change pose a serious threat to the environment.

Irony is alive and well in his proposed commemoration. Just as Senator Stevens advanced and retreated in his views on anthropogenic climate change, so do the glaciers in his geographical cenotaph shows signs of both advance and retreat.

The Harvard glacier is advancing. Alaska's Yale, Columbia, Nelchina, Tazlina, and Valdez glaciers, all within the 8,340 square mile designation, are retreating.

Ted Stevens finally figured it out. Let's hope more living Republicans can embrace the light of science.


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

Site Meters tells this blog of a recent visitor from Clifton, Kansas who was interested in Lynn Jenkins record on Medicare. That's a great inquiry, so let's take a look.

House Concurrent Resolution 85 established the Congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2010 and including appropriate budgetary levels for F.Y. 2009 and for F.Y. 2011 through 2014. So what's that got to do with Medicare?

Section 314of the resolution establishes the current policy reserve fund for Medicare improvements. That's important because this §314 is an essential component of reforming the Medicare payment formula. This section mandates changes incentives to encourage efficiency and higher quality care in a way that supports fiscal sustainability. It calls for improving payment accuracy to encourage efficient use of resources and ensure that primary care receives appropriate compensation. It requires improvement of coordination of care among all providers serving a patient in all appropriate settings. Finally it seeks to hold providers accountable for their utilization patterns and quality of care. Lynn Jenkins voted no on H.Con.Res. 85 on roll call vote 192, April 2, 2009.

H.R. 3962 the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010, is now Public Law 111-192. This new law provides for a Medicare physician payment rate update and provides single and multiple employer pension plan sponsors with relief from pension funding requirements.

Lynn Jenkins voted no on H.R. 3962 on roll call vote 887, November 7, 2003. She voted yes on the measure roll call vote 393, June 24, 2010. That was on resolving differences with the Senate version of the bill. The final vote was 417 to 1.

Another case of where Lynn Jenkins was against it before she was for it is H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009 , now Public Law 111-141. On original passage in the House Lynn Jenkins voted against H.R. 3961, that was roll call vote 909 on November 19, 2009. When it came to resolving differences with the Senate, she was again on board. The final margin was 315 to 97, on roll call vote 67, February 27, 2009.

H.R. 2, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, now Public Law 111-3, is more commonly known as SCHIP, This is the part of Medicare that provides for health insurance for the neediest children. This law expanded coverage to include all children whose families were at or below 300% of the poverty line, up from 200%. Lynn Jenkins voted no on H.R. 2 first on roll call vote 16, January 14,2009; then again on roll call vote 50, February 4, 2009. Jenkins argued that the top third of those children should be excluded. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water!

H.R. 598,was a bill to provide for a portion of the economic recovery package relating to revenue measures, unemployment, and health, which became Public Law 111-5 on 2/17/2009, and is known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This applies to Medicare because this is where incentives are provided to physicians and hospitals using the electronic health record (EHR) and reduce payments to those who continue using paper. This EHR is using technology to reduce overhead costs in the administration of Medicare. H.R. 598 became Title IV of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Lynn Jenkins voted no Public Law 111-5, first on roll call vote 46, January 28, 2009 and then on roll call vote 70 on February 13, 2009.

H.R. 4691, The Temporary Extension Act of 2010, now Public Law 111-144, made technical corrections to Medicare physician payment update, by delaying the increase to physicians by a month. The bill also extended the Medicare therapy caps exceptions process by three months. This measure passed the House by a voice vote.

The bottom line on Lynn Jenkins is that she voted to obstruct Medicare until the final vote. She voted to deny health insurance coverage to America's neediest children. She voted against modernizing Medicare when she voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But there is more. The shameful propaganda in which she claimed that Health Care Reform would slash $500 Billion from Medicare, as though seniors would see a half a trillion dollar cut in benefits from Medicare. That wasn't the case. As reported on this blog Wednesday June 30th, That money is a reduction in the growth of future spending over t0 years. That money will not have to be spent because advancements in technology and elimination of waste and fraud.

Lynn Jenkins voted against Health Care Reform. If you are a senior looking at that doughnut hole then you were probably glad to see that $250 supplemental check this summer to help you through the hole. Don't thank Lynn Jenkins, she voted against it.

Lynn Jenkins likes to say how health care could be done correctly. Her votes tell us she speaking with a forked tongue. Lynn Jenkins was one of only 19 Representatives who voted against eliminating the anti-trust exemption for Health Insurance Companies.

When it comes to Medicare, Lynn Jenkins stirs the pot but comes up with last minute votes that lets her say supported the program. She's got a harder time with Veterans. Remember she voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5136, which languishes in the Senate.