Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is Sen. Gregg the one?
Some folks out there in the blogosphere have been wondering who in the United States Senate is holding up some simple sunshine law legislation forwarded by Sen. Russ Feingold and co-sponsored by 31 other senators. The law, entitled The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, seeks to amend the campaign finance law to require Senate candidates to file election-related designations, statements, and reports in electronic form. It would also require the Secretary of the Senate to forward a copy of any electronically filed information to the Federal Election Commission within one working day instead of two working days. Not huge thing, you would think.
Well, it has been anonymously held up in the Senate but no one knows who is doing it: ["Clueless in the Senate"].
That is where the Sunshine Foundation comes in. They have been calling all the Senators trying to find out who is holding up this simple update to the campaign finance reform legislation. Well, the only one who won't answer Yea or Nay, is Sen. Judd Gregg, one of New Hampshire's senators: ["Sunlight Foundation"]. So, either all the other senators are lying when denying they are holding up the legislation, a possibility, or Gregg is indeed the culprit.
One has to wonder why this is happening, especially if Gregg is actually involved in holding up the change. He isn't up for reelection until 2010 which is a lifetime away, even with the changing demographics of the state. Is there really something so offensive in the legislation that it must be held up by Gregg?
Gregg is pretty popular in the state but something like this could backfire on him even though it will probably be forgotten by 2010. One could say that Gregg has lived a pretty charmed life. He is a political legacy here. His father was once a Governor. He has served as a Representative to Congress for four terms and later, Governor himself, for two terms. In 1992, Gregg decided not to run for reelection and instead, ran for Senate. He easily won the Republican primary and faced off against Democrat John Rauh, along with four independents. Rauh's refused PAC money and limited his contributions to $100, so he was underfunded in the general election. Gregg won, although with only 48 percent of the vote, not a majority. In 2004, Granny D challenged Gregg after one of Burt Cohen's campaign underlings allegedly drained a campaign account of cash. Gregg spent $2.5 million and Granny D spent $177,000. Gregg won with 66 percent. In 1998, another underfunded Democrat, George Condodemetraky challenged Gregg and lost, with only 28 percent of the vote, spending about $26,000 in the effort, compared to Gregg's $1.1 million-plus.
In 2005, Gregg won a secondary Powerball prize, which garnered some headlines. I think he was criticized for not donating the money and then later did donate to charity or part of it, I don't recall exactly. Gregg's wife was also involved in a kidnapping incident but was OK after the tragic event.
So, why is Gregg holding up this thing? Is he covering for others who don't want the change, assuming he is safe in the Senate? With so many Republicans supporting the legislation, what is the problem? Is it too difficult to do the people's business electronically?

Update: A representative for Sen. Gregg has denied that he is the anonymous Senator.

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