Now the the unconstitutional DISCLOSE Act has passed the Massachusetts legislature, and will be signed by the Governor, an interesting question is being raised. Under the legislation non-profits will need to disclose who their largest donors are in printed, electronic, and broadcast communications. Not just the ones who are solicited for the communications itself.
Does this mean that Planned Parenthood will need to put that the Federal and State Government are their largest donors on all electioneering and independent expenditure communications they publish?
With less than 24 hours left in the General Court for formal sessions, Bob DeLeo's gun will will get a final vote today. The Boston Globe:
Massachusetts House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Wednesday night on legislation that would tighten what are already some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country.
Police departments could go to court to keep rifles and shotguns out of the hands of people they deem dangerous under a compromise worked out by the lawmakers.
The new legislation, crafted in response to the 2102 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., would also require the state to join a national database for criminal and mental health background checks and mandate that schools develop plans for students' mental health needs.
"My sense is there should be enough votes to pass it in both houses," said Representative George N. Peterson Jr., a Grafton Republican who served on the conference committee that worked out the agreement.
This will be the third piece of legislation looking to restrict rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights to pass the legislature in three days.
One Republican member of the conference committe, Representative George Peterson (R-Grafton) signed off on the legislation, while Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) did not.
Call your representatives at 617-722-2000 to let them know what you think.
Only ten of the Republicans in the Massachusetts House of Representatives stood up for freedom of speech and freedom of association yesterday as the House voted overwhelmingly 142-10 for an unconstitutional restriction of political speech.
Matthew Beaton (R-Shrewsbury)
Leah Cole (R-Peabody)
Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman)
Ryan Fattman (R-Webster)
Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge)
Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica)
Jim Lyons (R-Andover)
Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury)
Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton)
Keiko Orral (R-Lakeville)
Please contact those representatives and thank them for voting for your rights.
For the others, while it is understandable that this vote may not be a breaking point for you. Think about what the vote means. If you think that there is someone who more closely aligns with your beliefs who could run and win in that district. You should think about whether or not they deserve a primary in 2016.
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance had this to say about the bill:
"Parts of this bill are possibly unconstitutional. On the whole, it's very troubling to see lawmakers make such transparent attempts to protect their own re-election bids, with the elections only a few months away by discouraging participation on important policy debates." stated Paul Craney, the group's executive director. "The Disclosure Act also failed to address the union loophole that allows unions, including out of state unions, to donate more than the individual limit to candidates."
Mike Sweeney, the Communications Manager for GOAL, responded to calls for members to cancel their membership made today on Red Mass Group. Here is Mike's email.
I just wanted to drop a quick note to you in regards to the post on your website.
First off, you're wrong about GOAL being a "conservative" group. GOAL is a Second Amendment group, we are not aligned with any political party.
Second, Dee Dee does very good work for us. She has great connections in the local media and has been very successful at helping us broadcast our message. Dee Dee is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and takes that message wherever she goes. She takes heat in many circles for it, but always stands her ground, with us and for the Second Amendment.
I hope you can appreciate that.
First, I think many members of GOAL would be shocked to learn that the organization is not conservative. Conservatism doesn't denote party, it is a philosophy.
Second, in my response to Mr. Sweeney, I reiterated that the fight for Second Amendment rights takes place in the confines of a 160 member house, and 40 member senate. Not the pages of the Boston Globe or any other newspaper. The priority for that organization, or any organization looking to affect public policy should be electing more representatives and senators that agree with their position. Not using contractors who help legislators who are against their position to win.
The Massachusetts DISCLOSE bill being voted on today in the legislature contains provisions ruled unconstitutional when the NAACP sued the State of Alabama. The Supreme Court ruled that government requirements of groups to list their membership in any way are against freedom of association provisions.
(Lead attorney on NAACP v. Alabama, Judge Robert L. Carter, with the dean of Georgetown University Law Center, William Treanor, Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons)
Specifically, the disclosure requirement being considered now is of a piece with what racist Democrats tried to do in the South when they went after the NAACP to intimidate them. The Supreme Court held in 1958 in Alabama vs NAACP that the NAACP had the right to not disclose their donors.
The Court decided in favor of the petitioners, holding that "Immunity from state scrutiny of petitioner's membership lists is here so related to the right of petitioner's members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in doing so as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment" and, further, that freedom to associate with organizations dedicated to the "advancement of beliefs and ideas" is an inseparable part of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.
The law being voted on today is an affront to the constitution, and the rights of the citizenship to speak, assemble, and associate. Once again, any Republican who votes for this legislation should be primaried in 2016. Our rights are non-negotiable.
Call your legislator at 617-722-2000 and let them know what you think.
Yesterday, Dee Dee Edmonsdson, who is GOAL's spokesperson/ public relations consultant, was listed on paperwork filed for a new Democratic Super-PAC looking to get out the vote for Democrats in November. The Boston Globe reported yesterday.
Besides Spencer, three other officers are listed on the paperwork filed with the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance: Democratic campaign operative Afiyah Harrigan is the co-chair and Dee Dee Edmondson, a local consultant, operative and lawyer, is the treasurer of the PAC.
You read that right. The person who helps a conservative organization, the Gun Owners Action League, is working to help elect people based solely on their party registration. Not based upon their stance on the Second Amendment. She will be working to elect gun grabbers.
Is this how you want your money spent by GOAL? To fund individuals who work against your values in November?
You should call GOAL today at 508-393-5933 and ask them to cancel your membership. Your hard earned money is better spent elsewhere, or left in your pocket.
Yesterday, the Massachusetts General Court released the conference report for campaign finance legislation. You can find the final bill, which will be voted on today, here.
As many of you know, the Supreme Judicial Court struck down the requirement to print disclosure information on printed materials. They did so because it violates the First Amendment right to anonymous speech. This new bill has language that requires, unconstitutionally, disclosure on printed materials once again (emphasis mine).
"SECTION 25. Section 18G of said chapter 55, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the first paragraph the following paragraph:-
An independent expenditure or electioneering communication which is transmitted through paid television, internet advertising or print advertising appearing larger than 15 square inches shall include a written statement at the bottom of the advertisement that contains the words "Top Contributors" and a written statement that lists the 5 persons or entities or, if fewer than 5 persons or entities, all such persons or entities, that made the largest contributions to that entity; provided, however, that only contributions in excess of $5,000 reportable under this chapter during the 12-month period before the date of the advertisement or communication shall be listed. If no such contribution is received by the entity making an independent expenditure or electioneering communication, the advertisement or communication may exclude the statement. The advertisement or communication shall also include a written statement, as specified by the director, at the bottom of the advertisement that directs viewers to the official web address of the office of campaign and political finance. This paragraph shall also apply to advertisements purchased to influence or affect the vote on any question submitted to the voters."
This is just one of the many unconstitutional restrictions on anonymous free speech in this section. The United States Supreme Court, in McIntyre vs. Ohio Board of Elections affirmed the right to anonymous speech. That ruling was discussed earlier this year on Red Mass Group.
Yesterday the legislature approved a blatantly unconstitutional reinstatement of the abortion clinic buffer zone. Tomorrow the legislature will vote on blatantly unconstitutional gun regulations, no one has yet seen, and today they are voting on blatantly unconstitutional political speech restrictions.
Any Republican that votes for this legislation deserves at the minimum a primary challenge in 2016, and a vigorous sticker campaign in September of 2014. Our rights should be non-negotiable.
Call your representative at 617-722-2000 and let them know what you think, they know what I think.
(A former state representative colleague of Jones weighs in - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
It used to be that the Minority Leader was the leader of the opposition. Maybe we should change it to Minority Cheerleader, because it seems there is no limit to the ridiculous things Brad Jones is willing to do to curry favor with Speaker DeLeo.
Public records, provided to Red Mass Group by Mass Citizens for Jobs, show that a firm, where Nancy Pelosi's daughter is a partner, profited from the disastrous Massachusetts Obamacare rollout. In addition, the 2012 Obama Campaign's data team was behind the targeting of canvassed households, raising questions about whether public resources were being used to gather data for political campaigns.
The Massachusetts Health Connector authority subcontracted with the health care community organizing non profit Health Care for All (HCFA) to provide canvassing services to help sell Obamacare in Massachusetts, as Red Mass Group previously reported. Prior to signing the contract to perform these services, HCFA and the Connector exchanged emails (pdf) to outline the scope of the work, and who would be performing it. In those emails (page 11) HCFA's Maria Gonzalez writes to the Connector Authority to explain who would be running their back end data.
You did have questions about the Consulting(sp) firm, yes Campaign Industries LLC is the company behind Democracy Partners in the first instance, in the second case we are still in conversations for the database model but the vendor is likely to be Civis Analytics which is being negotiated by Campaign Industries LLC as well.
When Red Mass Group initially contacted the Health Connector Authority about the canvasses before the election and the possibility of Connector resources being used for political purposes, Jason Lefferts told Red Mass Group, he "wasn't going to dignify your baseless accusation with a response?"
These new documents show that the concern is in fact a real one. Democracy Partners, on their website, outline their goals:
Everyone on the team at Democracy Partners shares the same values. We're in business to elect Democrats and to create issue campaigns that turn progressive principles into progressive policy. We never back down from an important fight. But no matter what the odds we're all about finding a path to victory.
Contacted today with this information, Lefferts said, "Massachusetts remains a leader in health care access, continuing to lead in the nation in health insurance coverage for its residents, and part of the reason for that is because of the work Health Care For All did during the Open Enrollment period, knocking on 50,000 doors and letting people know about the new benefits created by the Affordable Care Act. The Health Connector reviewed Health Care For All's plans for this efficient and successful effort, and determined those plans were within the parameters of federal guidelines. The subcontract was of very limited scope and all of the scripts used by Health Care For All were approved and focused solely on the Affordable Care Act."
When asked specifically about safeguards to ensure that data wasn't used in future political campaigns, Lefferts has not yet responded to Red Mass Group.
-After many requests, we finally went through the Blog Roll on the lower left hand side of the page and removed (numerous) inactive blogs. If you know of any local or national blogs you think we should add, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
-We have an events calendar, also on the left hand side of the page, for your use. Please take advantage of it to list events you think the RMG community may want to attend. You can also send us an email at the address above to request we add an event to the calendar.
-We have removed the House GOP blogs RSS feed that appeared in the upper right hand corner of the page. Many Representatives and Senators have not been shy about posting directly on RMG, so it's utility was waning. Further, House Minority Leader Representative Bradley Jones is a Guest Blogger, which gives him automative front page status. We encourage him to use this opportunity to interact directly with the RMG community.
-We would love to see more of your content, but please don't just post press releases, or a headline and a hyperlink. See a news story? Give us your thoughts on it, and feel free to quote part of the story. Just be sure to link back to the original source.
Both houses of the General Court will sit in a rare Tuesday session, as the clock ticks on formal sessions for the year. The legislature still has a few pieces of legislation leadership wants passed including Speaker DeLeo's gun legislation.
Now that convictions have come down in the Probation scandal trial, in which Massachusetts House of Representatives Speaker Robert DeLeo was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator, two GOP Representatives are calling for an ethics investigation into Speaker DeLeo.
"Yesterday, former Probation Commissioner John O'Brien was convicted on charges of mail fraud and racketeering. In the course of that trial, prosecutors alleged that Speaker of the House Robert. A. DeLeo was an unindicted part of this conspiracy," wrote state Rep. Jim L. Lyons Jr. (R-Andover). "We request that you provide us with information on how to initiate an ethics investigation into this matter."
Will other members of the House GOP caucus join in the calls for an ethics investigation of the un-indicted co-conspirator? With the GOP Leadership?
I'll start with a recap of the situation we're all aware of. We're being overrun by illegal aliens, and our government - both state and federal - is pushing them onto us as if it is the duty of Massachusetts or the United States to feed, clothe, and educate the entire planet via the forced extraction of taxes from our population.
Let's be perfectly clear: There is no humanitarianism in government. Deval Patrick let a teenage girl languish in a Boston hospital, ripped away from her parents, for 16 months. He has a 77 acre property in the Berkshires, absolutely none of which he is pledging to aid this "humanitarian crisis." Your faith and your values call you to act, Deval? You had better hope St. Peter buys your story, because I don't. Go chat up your progressive piety somewhere else. It is a shame that your heart is the exact size and shape of my wallet, and if I ever see you in person I intend to shame you myself.
Fortunately, I am a blessed man. Living in Taunton I have two of the best State Representatives one could possibly ask for, and their work on this issue proves it. Most of us followed, and likely attended yesterday's rally at the State House, for which Shaunna O'Connell was a large part and an able speaker for the cause. Shaunna has been bringing the fight to Beacon Hill on important issues, and has the recognition for it.
John J. O'Brien, the disgraced former Probation commissioner accused of corruption, and his top aide, Elizabeth Tavares, were convicted today of mail fraud and racketeering by a US District Court jury, which found that he ran his department like a criminal enterprise.
The third former probation official on trial, William Burke III, was acquitted of mail fraud by the jury that deliberated for 52 hours over seven days before reaching its unanimous verdict today.
The jury found that O'Brien and Tavares committed fraud and racketeering by hijacking their department's hiring process to favor candidates who were sponsored by state legislators.
More from an updated Valencia Story:
Another third former official, William Burke III, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy but acquitted of mail fraud and racketeering.
Within the past hour, the Massachusetts Senate defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) to close the loophole by which unions are able to give $15,000 to a single candidate in a single year. The vote was 10-28, with all 4 Republicans in support, the Democrats splitting 6-28 against, and Senators Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham) and Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) not voting*.
Yes, we've done it again -- six new votes added to the MassFiscal Scorecard! As usual, you can check out a brief explanation of each new vote follows, then head over to the site itself to find out how your representative and senator voted.
SENATE (4 Votes)
1. Study PARCC Implementation Costs (Roll Call #406): This amendment sought to require an analysis of the costs associated with switching from the current MCAS assessments to the proposed PARCC tests. MassFiscal would have voted YES. The amendment failed 14-25 (D: 10-25; R: 4-0).
2. Senate Version of Charter School Expansion (Roll Call #407): This vote was on the Senate version of a proposal to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. Unlike the House version, it included guarantees of more funding for school districts whose students transfer to charter schools. MassFiscal would have voted YES. The proposal failed 13-26 (D: 9-26; R: 4-0).
3. House Version of Charter School Expansion (Senate Vote - Roll Call #408): This vote was on the House version of a proposal to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. Unlike the Senate version, it did not include guarantees of more funding for school districts whose students transfer to charter schools. MassFiscal would have voted YES. The bill failed9-30 (D: 5-30; R: 4-0).
1. House Version of Charter School Expansion (House Vote - Roll Call #378): This vote was on the House version of a proposal to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. Unlike the Senate version, it did not include guarantees of more funding for school districts whose students transfer to charter schools. MassFiscal would have voted YES. The bill passed 114-35 (D: 85-35; R: 29-0).