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CFR Discharge Petition

Proponents of the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform legislation are still 13 signatures shy of the necessary 218 needed to force a floor debate on the issue. According to Roll Call, Representative Wayne Gilchrest (R-Maryland) this week plans to add his name to the list, bringing the total number of signatures to 206. "Reformers" are also courting Representative William Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) and Representative Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts). Clay initially signed the petition, but then removed his name. Neal, Representative Meehan’s roommate and one of 21 Democratic holdouts, supports the Shays-Meehan bill, but objects to discharge petitions on principle, because they are disruptive to the legislative process. Meehan believes Neal will reconsider if the number of signatures gets close to the necessary 218.

Regardless, the odds are against Shays-Meehan. According to an August 6 report by the Congressional Research Service, of the 551 discharge petitions that have been filed since 1931, only 46 have obtained the required signatures and only two have led to a change in law. Let’s hope history holds true, and Representative Shays and Meehan’s blatant attack on the Constitution meets its demise in the 107th Congress.


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