A Brief Overview of Mitch McConnell and "Constitutional Liberty"Submitted by Kevin Tuma on Thu, 09/13/2012 - 13:57
Now that Chief Strategist Jesse Benton is becoming a professional campaign advisor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, I think we should all review McConnell's record and some of his positions in relationship to libertarianism.
PATRIOT ACT and NDAA:
1. Mitch McConnell is a longtime supporter of the PATRIOT ACT. His most recent vote in favor of it was in May 2011, when he delivered a defense of the Patriot Act on the Senate Floor.
2. Mitch McConnell voted "Yea" in support of the NDAA-National Defense Authorization Act.
OTHER POSITIONS (FROM WIKIPEDIA):
- McConnell has supported several gun control measures put forth by Democrats, including the 1991 Crime Bill S.1241 (see U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote here) sponsored by then senator Joseph Biden, that instituted a national waiting period for handgun purchases as well as a federal ban on semi-automatic firearms.
- In 1998, McConnell voted for Barbara Boxer's Trigger Lock Amendment 3230 (see U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote here), which required the purchase of a trigger lock with the sale of each handgun.
ETHICS AND LOBBYING:
- From 2003 to 2008, among McConnell's top 20 donors have been 5 financial/investment firms: UBS, FMR Corporation (Fidelity Investments), Citigroup, Bank of New York and Merrill Lynch.
- In its 2009 report, liberal government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named McConnell one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress, stating that "Sen. McConnell's ethics issues stem primarily from (1) earmarks he inserted into legislation for clients of his former chief of staff in exchange for campaign contributions and (2) the misuse of his nonprofit McConnell Center for Political Leadership at the University of Louisville."[
- Mitch McConnell has voted in favor of big oil companies on 100% of important oil-related bills from 2005–2007, according to Oil Change International. These bills include Iraq war funding, climate change studies, clean energy, and emissions.
- In April 2010, while Congress was considering financial reform legislation, a reporter asked McConnell if he was "doing the bidding of the large banks." McConnell has received more money in donations from the "Finance, Insurance and Real Estate" sector than any other sector according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
- On June 26, McConnell argued that he would not allow S.1, an important lobbying reform bill (which had passed), to go into conference unless Senate Republicans were allowed to add an amendment to the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act (a so-called "poison pill" amendment).
- On June 28, 2007, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blocked a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader McConnell that would have started up long-stalled conference proceedings on the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007. DeMint made an objection to the agreement by phone to the Senate floor, minutes after McConnell had said Republicans would drop their objections to naming conferees. DeMint argued that he would not let the bill proceed until certain earmark reforms were accepted. He stated, "We will not have earmark reform during this year’s appropriations process. That is why this is being done," DeMint charged on the floor, adding later that "the only reason to go to conference with [the rules] in is to take them out."
- Jack Abramoff connection: McConnell "said through his spokesman that the money given to him and his political committee by three [American Indian] tribes will be donated to the Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville, which helps the poor and homeless. While federal records show McConnell received $18,500, his office's accounting showed $19,500, and that is what will be given to Wayside," James R. Carroll reported in the January 5, 2006, Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal.
On April 21, 2009, McConnell delivered a speech to the Senate criticizing United States President Barack Obama's plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. During the speech, he suggested that Obama's closure plans might result in the release of "murderers" into the U.S.
- In August 2007 McConnell introduced the Protect America Act of 2007, which allowed the National Security Agency to monitor telephone and electronic communications of suspected terrorists inside and outside the United States without obtaining a warrant.
WAR IN IRAQ:
McConnell voted for the initial War in Iraq, has supported the "troop surge", and opposed a timetable for withdrawal from the country. McConnell remains one of the strongest supporters of the Iraq War, which he considers a central part of the War on Terrorism.
- In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on January 10, 2007 (after President Bush's announcement of an escalation in troop levels in Iraq), McConnell claimed that the war in Iraq was a success because it had prevented terrorist attacks in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks.
- Following a failed cloture vote on Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-Wis.) amendment (S.AMDT.1098) to end funding for the Iraq War in 2008, another attempt to use a spending bill to withdrawal U.S. forces, Minority Leader McConnell stated that "once again, an overwhelming bipartisan majority rejected giving our enemy a timeline for withdrawal...The U.S. Senate has continued to show that an arbitrary surrender date is a non-starter. We need to move forward with the business of ensuring our troops have the funding, training and equipment they need to complete their mission."
- In 2006, McConnell publicly criticized Senate Democrats for urging that troops be brought back from Iraq.