Brian Schatz on Government Reform
Abolish the Electoral College
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is backing an amendment to "abolish the Electoral College" introduced by Senator Brian Schatz, while Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders have signaled their willingness to address the
Electoral College's anti-democratic impact, as have former representative Beto O'Rourke, former housing secretary Juli n Castro, and mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg.
Source: The Nation magazine on 2018 Hawaii Senate race
, Apr 8, 2019
Partial state funding for state level political campaigns
Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?
Q: Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
A: Undecided on Individual limits; PAC limits; and Corporate limits.
Source: Hawaii Legislative 1996 National Political Awareness Test
, Nov 1, 1996
Matching fund for small donors, with debate requirements.
Schatz co-sponsored Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act
Congressional Summary:Fair Elections Now Act--Amends 1971 FECA with respect to:
- 500% matching payments to candidates for certain small dollar contributions;
- a public debate requirement;
- establishment of the Fair Elections Fund and of a Fair Elections Oversight Board;
- remission to the Fair Elections Fund of unspent funds after an election civil penalties for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements;
- Requires all designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under FECA to be filed directly with the FEC in electronic form accessible by computers.
Statement of support for corresponding Senate bill: (Sunlight Foundation) Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission,
the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won't be deterred--as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we'll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we'll win.
Source: S375/H.R.269 14_S375 on Feb 25, 2013
Statehood for the District of Columbia.
Schatz co-sponsored H.R.317
Congressional Summary: Sets forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia.
- Requires the Mayor of the District of Columbia to submit to the voters propositions for statehood and adoption of a State Constitution, and issue a proclamation for the first elections to Congress of two Senators and one Representative of New Columbia.
- Requires the President to issue a proclamation announcing the results and admitting New Columbia into the Union.
- Provides for conversion of District government offices to state offices.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (DCist.com, Sept. 2014): The Argument Against: Congress does not have the authority to grant statehood to D.C.; the 23rd amendment, which gave D.C. three electoral votes, would have to be repealed before statehood was granted. Washington is a wholly urban, one-industry town, dependent on the federal government far in excess of any other state.
Moreover, with Congress no longer having authority over New Columbia but dependent on it, New Columbia could exert influence on the federal government far in excess of any other state.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: [Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC; the District of Columbia has one representative to Congress and no Senators; Rep. Holmes can introduce bills but her vote does not count]: This 51st state would have no jurisdiction over the federal territory or enclave that now consists of the Washington that Members of Congress and visitors associate with the capital of our country. Those would remain under federal jurisdiction. The New Columbia Admission Act was the first bill I introduced in 1991. Statehood is the only alternative for the citizens of the District of Columbia. To be content with less than statehood is to concede the equality of citizenship that is the birthright of our residents as citizens of the United States.
Source: New Columbia Admission Act 15_H317 on Jan 13, 2015
Sponsored bill to abolish the electoral college.
Schatz sponsored the Joint Resolution on abolishing Electoral College
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President.
Resolved that the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution, which shall be valid when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4 of the States within seven years:The President and Vice President
shall be elected by the people of the several States;The pair of candidates having the greatest number of votes for President and Vice President shall be elected
- Whereas the Founders of the Nation established the electoral college in an era of limited nationwide communication and information sharing;
- Whereas the electoral college is premised on an antiquated theory that citizens will have a better chance of knowing about electors from their home States than about Presidential candidates from out of State;
- Whereas the development of mass media and the Internet has made information about Presidential candidates easily accessible to citizens across the country and around the world;
- Whereas the electoral college has become an anachronism: Now, therefore, be it
Opponents' viewpoint by Washington Times 3/28/19: The Founding Fathers dreamed up a way to elect a president by overriding the popular will, and some people want to fix something that ain't broke. The Founders were not at all confident that voters would pay sufficient attention to the job at hand, studying the men and issues to come to a correct evaluation of the candidates. The genius of the Electoral College is that it guarantees that the states' electors elect the president, as instructed by the people. Without this guarantee, a presidential candidate would spend all his time in CA, TX, and FL, with only grudging nods to the states of flyover country. The guarantee of attention to both large and small states enforces federalism, the sharing of powers between the central government and the states.
Source: Resolution H.J.Res.7 for Constitutional Amendment 19-HJR7 on Jan 3, 2019
Sponsored bill for election holiday & easier voting access.
Schatz co-sponsored For the People Act of 2019
- This bill expands voter registration and voting access, makes Election Day a federal holiday, and limits removing voters from voter rolls.
- The bill provides for states to establish independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions.
- The bill also sets forth provisions for sharing intelligence information with state election officials, and supporting states in securing their election systems, and establishing the National Commission to Protect U.S. Democratic Institutions.
- This bill addresses campaign spending, by expanding the ban on foreign nationals contributing to or spending on elections; and expanding disclosure rules.
- This bill establishes an alternative campaign funding system [with] federal matching of small contributions for qualified candidates.
- The bill also requires candidates for President and Vice President to submit 10 years of tax returns.
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:
- Seize the authority of states to regulate the voting process by forcing states to implement early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting.
- Make it easier to commit fraud at the polls through same-day registration, as election officials have no time to verify the accuracy of voter registration.
- Degrade the accuracy of registration lists by automatically registering individuals from state databases, such as DMV.
- Cripple the effectiveness of state voter ID laws by allowing individuals to vote without an ID and merely signing a statement in which they claim they are who they say they are.
Legislative outcome: Passed House 234-193-5 on 3/8/19; received with no action in Senate thru 12/31/2019
Source: H.R.1 &S.949 19-S949 on Jan 3, 2019
Voted YES on two articles of impeachment against Trump.
Schatz voted YEA Impeachment of President Trump
RESOLUTION: Impeaching Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.
ARTICLE I: ABUSE OF POWER: Using the powers of his high office, Pres. Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 US Presidential election. He did so through a course of conduct that includedThese actions were consistent with Pres. Trump's previous invitations of foreign interference in US elections.
- Pres. Trump--acting both directly and through his agents--corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph Biden; and a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine--rather than Russia--interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election.
- With the same corrupt motives, Pres. Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested: (A) the release of $391 million that Congress had appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression; and (B) a head of state meeting at the White House,
which the President of Ukraine sought.
- Faced with the public revelation of his actions, Pres. Trump ultimately released the [funds] to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.
ARTICLE II: OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS:These actions were consistent with Pres. Trump's previous efforts to undermine US Government investigations into foreign interference in US elections.
Source: Supreme Court case ImpeachK argued on Dec 18, 2019
- Pres. Trump defied a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought [by Congress];
- defied lawful subpoenas [for] the production of documents and records;
- and directed current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees.
Other candidates on Government Reform:
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Senate Votes (analysis)
Page last updated: Jul 12, 2020