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The Pawn and the Puppetmaster

September 26, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

After months of wondering what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s been hiding, the mystery was finally revealed on Monday. Senator John Ensign (R-NV) came forward and identified himself as the senator who’s been anonymously blocking passage of S.223 under McConnell’s asylum. Or so it seemed. The Sunlight Foundation did some more digging and discovered that Ensign is actually just the scapegoat and that the senator Mitch McConnell’s really been hiding is — get this — Mitch McConnell!

>Sunlight has learned that last week Democratic offices were given a Unanimous Consent agreement that would have allowed the Senate to move to S. 223 only if they agreed to take up a an amendment identical to the one introduced on Monday by Senator John Ensign. The consent agreement came from none other than the offices of Sen. Mitch McConnell, whom the Sunlight Foundation has targeted as a culprit in covering up the identity of the anonymous Senators previously blocking the bill. That the “McConnell amendment” is now being offered by Senator Ensign comes as no surprise to long time McConnell watchers, who are well aware that when it comes to reform, McConnell is often hiding behind the scenes, pulling all the strings. .

The bill in question, S.223, is simple and popular — it has 40 co-sponsors and near-unanimous support. It would simply require senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically, brining them firmly into the 20th century along with the House and presidential candidates who have been following this requirement for years. Their current system for filing the information involves a slow and messy web of snail-mail, printing, scanning, and collating that results in a lot of wasted time and money. As Russ Feingold (D-WI), the bill’s sponsor said on Monday, it needs to be passed soon so that campaign finance disclosure requirements can be applied in time for the 2008 election season.

So we need to keep questioning McConnell on this one. This time, though, we need to ask: Mitch McConnell, what are you hiding in you campaign finance information?

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