• FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Martha Patzer
    July 14, 2010 202-263-1332

    LEAGUE DISAPPOINTED BY SENATOR BROWN'S STATEMENT ON DISCLOSE ACT
    'Same Old Washington Excuses'

    WASHINGTON, D.C. The League of Women Voters of the U.S. and the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts today made the following statement in response to Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown’s letter stating his opposition to the DISCLOSE Act, an important campaign finance bill that aims to restore transparency to U.S. elections after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

    “It is very disappointing that Senator Brown is repeating the same old Washington excuses after just a few months in office,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national president of the League of Women Voters.

    “He says the legislation takes effect too soon, even though the greatest need is for the public and the voters to be informed about special interest influence in this election, now. Why would we wait, when the Supreme Court has endorsed disclosure? What’s more, the legislation simply responds to the changing of the rules that the Supreme Court decision imposed just a few months ago, after the election season had already started. 

    “He says the legislation gives special advantages to one special interest or another. Why is Senator Brown interested at all in protecting one special interest or another? In fact, the bill is fair, and goes as far as it can to require full transparency as soon as possible.

    “He says the legislation is partisan. This is the oldest dodge in Washington. As a non-partisan group, we in the League of Women Voters say that this bill is not partisan and requires disclosure fairly from all.”

    “We understand the difficult position in which Senator Brown finds himself,” said Marcia Hirshberg, president of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “His leaders in Washington are opposed to transparency, but he campaigned with the people of Massachusetts as a different kind of politician. He can’t represent both the old ways of Washington and the new spirit of government responsibility and transparency.”

    “We trust that Senator Brown will eventually make the right choice on this legislation and support fair transparency in government, despite his statement today justifying the old, special-interest ways of doing business,” said MacNamara and Hirshberg.

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    June 24, 2010 202-263-1331

    CAMPAIGN FINANCE BILL PASSES HOUSE
    League of Women Voters Applauds DISCLOSE Act, Restored Transparency in Elections

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The League of Women Voters today hailed the passage of campaign finance legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives as the first step in achieving greater transparency in U.S. elections.

    “Secret spending in elections undermines our democracy -- that’s why this bill is so important,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national president of the League of Women Voters.

    “The League of Women Voters commends the House for taking strong action, especially Representatives Van Hollen and Castle for their leadership. We now call on the Senate to pass a similar bill, ideally a version free of amendments that dilute transparency or corrupt the spirit of the legislation,” she stated.  “It is essential for Congress to enact this legislation now, so we can protect the 2010 elections,” MacNamara said.

    The DISCLOSE Act received support from a host of reform groups including the League, and today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the League and coalition groups for their efforts in helping to pass this legislation.

    “This bill is a step in the right direction and achieves its fundamental purpose,” MacNamara said.  “The League will continue to fight for enhanced disclosure, and this bill is an important part of that fight.  It’s the best campaign finance reform since McCain-Feingold,” she concluded.

    The Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC recently gave the green light to corporations to spend without limit to elect or oppose candidates for office. However, the Court’s decision made clear that disclosure of this spending could be required by Congress.

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • Campaign Legal Center • Common Cause • Democracy 21
    League of Women Voters • Public Citizen • U.S. PIRG

    June 9, 2010

    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    Speaker of the House of Representatives
    U.S Capitol
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Dear Speaker Pelosi:

    Our organizations are writing to express our strong support for the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and our opposition to the efforts being undertaken by some Members to undermine the House rules that established the Office.

  • Campaign Legal Center • Common Cause • Democracy 21
    League of Women Voters • Public Citizen • U.S. PIRG

    June 9, 2010

    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    Speaker of the House of Representatives
    U.S Capitol
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Dear Speaker Pelosi:

    Our organizations are writing to express our strong support for the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and our opposition to the efforts being undertaken by some Members to undermine the House rules that established the Office.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    June 17, 2010 202-263-1331

    LEAGUE SUPPORTS DISCLOSE ACT
    Transparency in Elections Essential

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The League of Women Voters today voiced strong support for the campaign finance legislation that is expected to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

    “It is critically important for this legislation to be passed soon, so that it can take effect before the 2010 elections,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national president of the League of Women Voters.  Negotiators in the House have been working for weeks to craft a bill that can achieve majority support, and the bill announced this week is receiving support from a host of reform groups including the League. MacNamara sent a letter on behalf of the League to Members of the House of Representatives urging their support this week.

    “Disclosure of corporate and union spending in our elections is the key to allowing voters to make their decisions,” according to MacNamara.  “This bill accomplishes that fundamental purpose” she said.

    The Supreme Court recently overturned decades of campaign finance law in the case of Citizens United v. FEC.  The Court gave the green light to unlimited spending by corporations to elect or defeat candidates.  But the Court’s decision made clear that disclosure of this spending could be required by Congress.

    “Secret spending in elections undermines our democracy,” MacNamara said.  “This bill is part of the cure,” she said.  “The League of Women Voters calls on every member of the House of Representatives to vote for this bill,” she concluded.

    ###

    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Martha Patzer
    June 15, 2010 202-263-1332

          
    ON 90TH ANNIVERSARY, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ELECTS ELISABETH MACNAMARA AS NEW NATIONAL PRESIDENT
    Secretary Sebelius, Representative John Lewis Address Delegates

    WASHINGTON, DC – The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) celebrated its 90th anniversary at its 49th biennial national convention this week in Atlanta, Georgia.  The four-day gathering gave League members from around the country the opportunity to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments over the last 90 years on health care reform, election reform and judicial independence, and to discuss important public policy issues.

    Today, Elisabeth MacNamara of Dekalb County, Georgia was elected unanimously by the more than 600 delegates gathered at the Marriott Atlanta Marquis. MacNamara, elected to serve a two-year term, will be the national organization’s 18th president.

    In her acceptance speech, MacNamara thanked members for entrusting her with the leadership of this 90-year-old organization. “I am excited and delighted to lead the League of Women Voters of the United States to new heights,” MacNamara said. “The League and its 150,000 grassroots members and supporters will continue to raise our voices in the fight for climate change reform, campaign finance reform, voter education and election reform. Let’s go out there and get in the way!”  MacNamara urged.

    Earlier this morning, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addressed convention delegates on the role of women in American politics, outlined key elements of the new health care legislation and reaffirmed the Administration’s strong commitment to expanding voter registration opportunities.  During the opening session, Representative John Lewis congratulated delegates on their 90th anniversary and urged them to continue their hard work in communities nationwide strengthening civil rights and democratic principles.

    A League member since 1983, MacNamara ascended to the presidency of the Georgia League in 2001 and served in this capacity until 2006. MacNamara was elected to a two-year term on the LWVUS national Board as a director in 2006 and was also the organization’s first vice president until 2010.

    “This Convention proved that the League remains a vibrant, grassroots organization as it has for the last 90 years,” stated MacNamara.  “We debated many of the critical issues facing citizens across the nation, including election reform, climate change, the need for redistricting reform, and health care reform,” MacNamara said.

     Delegates set the LWVUS program agenda for the next two years, voting to study the federal role in public education and privatization of government functions.

    Follow the League's Convention on  Twitter and  Facebook!

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Martha Patzer
    June 10, 2010 202-263-1332

    SECRETARY SEBELIUS, REP. JOHN LEWIS TO ADDRESS LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS AT NATIONAL CONVENTION IN ATLANTA JUNE 11-15
    Longtime Atlanta Resident Elisabeth MacNamara Nominated to Become Next National League President

    Highlights and speakers include:

    • Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Representative John Lewis (D-GA), civil rights leader
    • Hon. Carol W. Hunstein, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Georgia
    • Leslie Sanchez, author, columnist, political analyst, commentator
    • Elisabeth MacNamara, longtime Atlanta resident, nominated to be the League’s next national President
    • Robert Cooney, historian and author of Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement

    WASHINGTON, DC – More than 600 delegates representing the League of Women Voters are gathering in Atlanta this week for the 49th Biennial Convention. “90 Years of Making Democracy Work: A History of Change. A Future of Hope” will take place June 11-15 at the Atlanta Marriot Marquis in downtown Atlanta. Hundreds of state and local members from across the country will celebrate the League’s 90th anniversary; elect officers and the Board of Directors; and adopt the League’s biennial program and budget. Unless otherwise noted, the following highlights are scheduled to take place in the Atrium Ballroom of the Marquis Atlanta Marriot, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue Northeast, Atlanta:

    Speaker: U.S. Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)
    Saturday, June 12, 1 pm

    Speaker: Leslie Sanchez, author of You’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe
    Saturday, June 12, 4:00 pm

    Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein*
    Workshop: “Is the Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary Important? Is it Attainable?”
    Monday, June 14, 3:30-5:00 pm. * NOTE: This event is taking place in Room A707

    Speaker: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
    Tuesday, June 15, 8:30 am

    Election of new League president, officers and directors
    Longtime Atlanta resident Elisabeth MacNamara has been nominated to be the next national president of the League of Women Voters.
    Tuesday, June 15, 10:30 am

    Reporters interested in covering one or more of these events should contact Communications Director Kelly Ceballos at 202-321-3758 (kceballos@lwv.org) or Communications Manager Martha Patzer at 937-232-3483 (mpatzer@lwv.org) from June 11-15.

    Follow the League's Convention on Twitter and Facebook!

    ###

    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    May 19, 2010 202-263-1331

    MURKOWSKI MOVE WOULD BLOCK NEW ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
    Attack on Clean Air Act is Just More “Waffling and Waiting”

    Washington, DC - The League of Women Voters of the United States today announced its strong opposition to S.J. Res. 26, sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), which would block action by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act to rein in the pollution that is causing climate change and threatening communities here and around the world.  The Senate is expected to consider the Murkowski resolution soon, possibly as early as this week.

    “At this critical time, when our nation needs new energy and environmental policies, Senator Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval is just more waffling and waiting.  It will block action to stop pollution, reinforce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and undermine the move to a new, clean-energy, clean-jobs economy,” said Mary G. Wilson, president of the national League.

    “The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the recent coal-mine tragedy in West Virginia point to our dead end and dangerous energy policies,” Wilson maintained.  

    “The Murkowski resolution does nothing to make things better,” said Wilson. “It is only a negative action – and at a time when positive steps on energy are essential to national security, jobs, the economy and the planet.”

    “The Murkowski resolution puts public health at risk and jeopardizes long-overdue action to cut emissions from the biggest polluters,” according to Wilson.  She said that the League is mobilizing its members and 850 affiliates around the country to urge their Senators to vote against the resolution.

    The Clean Air Act has a 40-year track record of cutting dangerous pollution and protecting human health and the environment.  In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that global warming pollutants are covered by the Clean Air Act, and last May President Obama took action under this ruling by issuing landmark clean vehicle standards that will save consumers money at the gas pump, cut global warming pollution and reduce America's oil dependence.  Now, EPA has begun to regulate the pollutants spewing from major power plants. 

    “The Murkowski resolution would block this progress and overrule sound, scientific decisions by EPA,” Wilson pointed out. “Senators should kill this resolution and keep moving to pass new climate and energy legislation.”

    ###

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    April 29, 2010 202-263-1331


    LAWMAKERS MOVE TO BLOCK SECRET, FOREIGN MONEY FOR 2010 ELECTIONS
    “Voters Need to Know” Who is Paying for Elections in Response to Citizens United

    Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters is pleased with today’s announcement by Senator Charles Schumer, Representative Chris Van Hollen and others that new campaign finance reform legislation (the DISCLOSE Act) is being   introduced in both chambers of Congress.

    “We are very pleased that the congressional leadership will be moving quickly in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” said Mary G. Wilson, national President of the League of Women Voters.  “Senator Schumer and Representative Van Hollen have laid out a balanced response that must be enacted immediately to ensure that the 2010 election is not swamped with secret corporate money.”

    “This is a good and strong, and very reasonable approach to the Supreme Court's decision,” Wilson stated.  “The legislation today focuses on several key areas – heightened disclosure requirements; more complete disclaimers; barring election spending by foreign corporations; clear coordination rules; and barring election ads by corporations closely connected to the government.  These steps build on disclosure and disclaimer requirements approved by the Court and will codify that foreign interests should not be allowed to intervene in American elections.” 

    In February, the League of Women Voters testified before the Committee on House Administration in a hearing entitled Defining the Future of Campaign Finance in an Age of Supreme Court Activism. At the hearing, President Wilson told committee members that they must pass legislation governing corporate and union spending quickly, in order for it to take effect for the 2010 elections. “We urgently need enhanced disclosure,” Wilson said.

    “Voters deserve to know who is paying for election advertising,” Wilson said.  “Secret money, especially secret foreign money, has no place in America’s democracy. CEOs and corporate leaders will now have to appear in their ads with a powerful ‘stand by your ad’ provision.”

    “This is a serious effort at balanced legislation,” stated Wilson.  “We deeply hope that our elected representatives in Washington will give it the careful consideration it deserves.  Our election system and our nation need Congress to act quickly, before the 2010 elections,” Wilson concluded.

    The League’s statement on the Citizens United decision can be found here.  The League filed an amicus brief in this case.  Reporters may contact Kelly Ceballos (kceballos@lwv.org or 202-263-1331) to set up media interviews with President Mary Wilson.

    ###

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    April 20, 2010 202-263-1331

    LEAGUE MOURNS PASSING OF CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER DOROTHY HEIGHT
    Voting Rights Heroine Impacted Generations

    Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters of the United States today joined Americans across this country in mourning the passing of Dorothy Height, a longtime leader of the nation’s civil rights movement and Chairwoman of the National Council of Negro Women.

    “Today our country lost a true heroine with the passing of Dorothy Height,” said Mary G. Wilson, national President of the League of Women Voters. “Ms. Height was an inspiration to many.  Her pioneering work for racial and gender equality spanned six decades and impacted the lives of millions of Americans.”

    “Ms. Height’s contributions to the fight for voting rights in the 1950s and 1960s were pivotal to passage of the Voting Rights Act,” Wilson stated. “Likewise, passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963 would not have been possible were it not for the strength, dedication and leadership of Dorothy Height.  The League has been honored to work with Ms. Height in her role as Chair of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.”

    “Ms. Height was a role model for many Americans, never stopping in her quest for a better life for all in this nation.  Her legacy will live on for generations to come,” concluded Wilson.

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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