Credibility Crisis: 'Dark Money' Influence Could Soon Become a Constitutional Right

by Sheldon Whitehouse

The Supreme Court faces a credibility crisis. This crisis intensifies after nearly $100 million in anonymous funding-known as "dark money"-entered the confirmation fights of the last three justices. At the same time, the country faces a dark-money crisis as anonymous influence spreads malicious disinformation and corrupts and disrupts our politics. And now a case before the court could lock in dark money influence as a constitutional right. Big donors have reason to smile. The Republican majori… Continue Reading


Why we can’t just “move on”: We need accountability for Donald Trump’s misdeeds

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Barack Obama's administration made the policy decision to look forward, not back, and to leave the misdeeds of George W. Bush's administration to history's judgment. That would be a mistake for the incoming Biden administration. Donald Trump and his henchmen have made a concerted attack on American democracy, and done so much corrupting damage that it would be dereliction to give them a pass. Three areas in particular need investigation. One is the administration's denial of climate science, do… Continue Reading


Amy Coney Barrett rose from corporations' crusade for power over the Supreme Court

by Sheldon Whitehouse

There's a scheme being run on the American people, and, as we embark on this rushed and bitter fight over whether to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the American people ought to understand what's really going on. It almost doesn't matter who President Donald Trump picked to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; it never really did. What really matters is who - and whose money - lurks behind the process of shaping the Supreme Court, and what's at stake for all of us, from th… Continue Reading


Beacon a lesson for hospital merger

by Sheldon Whitehouse

As prospects for a merger between Rhode Island's two hospital systems appear to grow more promising ("Lifespan, CNE Move Forward With Letter of Intent to Merge," PBN, Sept. 9), there are important questions of monopoly and potential abuse of market power that deserve discussion. Health care is an arena of our economy less suited to dog-eat-dog competition and more suited to policy, structure and coordination than almost any other. After all, a person who arrives unconscious at a hospital is hard… Continue Reading


Crashing coastal property values and the economic fallout of climate change

by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Sheldon Whitehouse

Climate change has taken hold here in New England. From the White Mountains to Narragansett Bay, there have been more frequent heat waves; native wildlife and plants are shifting north; and there have been troubling upticks in climate-related ailments like tick-borne diseases and asthma. But nowhere is climate change more apparent than along the coast, where warming and acidifying waters and rising sea levels are taking a toll, disrupting fisheries and eroding coastal marshes and beaches. These… Continue Reading


Trump's coronavirus response proves Congress once again needs its own science advisers

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan, professor, Arizona State University

With an administration in power that mocks and disparages science - at the bidding of big special interests and for its own perceived political gain - it falls to Congress to ensure that our government is listening to science. But right now, Congress itself often doesn't act on the best available scientific knowledge - in no small part because of a fateful decision by Congress two and a half decades ago that cut off the flow of high quality, nonpartisan science to inform its decisions. Until t… Continue Reading


Moot Points, Gun Laws and the Supreme Court

by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) and Dick Durbin (D., Ill.)

The Journal's editorial board joined Justice Samuel Alito to blame us for the failure of a major Second Amendment challenge at the Supreme Court ("The Chief Justice Ducks on Gun Rights," April 28). The Justice alleges that we somehow "manipulated" the court. That's rich, in light of the right-wing dark-money machine surrounding the court. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York was the product of what the National Rifle Association-a major Republican donor, gun indus… Continue Reading


The corrupt tax provision in the CARES Act: Rep. Doggett & Sen. Whitehouse

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Lloyd Doggett

As Americans battled the human and economic devastation of COVID-19, Congress sent rapid relief out to families, our health sector, small businesses and our economy. The most recent relief bill, the CARES Act, enjoyed wide bipartisan support and will help if implemented effectively. But tucked into its 880 pages were Republican-inserted tax provisions. The more we've learned about their immense cost and the few that they benefit, the clearer it is that they have to go. These costly tax breaks … Continue Reading


Carbon pricing represents the best answer to our climate danger

by Sheldon Whitehouse and James Slevin

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, represents Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate. James Slevin is president of the Utility Workers Union of America. One of us is a labor leader from a union whose members are hard at work in all facets of energy generation, from coal-fired and nuclear power plants to natural gas and renewable energy systems. The other represents a coastal state at grave risk because of climate change. We have come together in an unusual but badly needed alliance to argue for a pat… Continue Reading


Carbon pricing represents the best answer to our climate danger

by Sheldon Whitehouse and James Slevin

One of us is a labor leader from a union whose members are hard at work in all facets of energy generation, from coal-fired and nuclear power plants to natural gas and renewable energy systems. The other represents a coastal state at grave risk because of climate change. We have come together in an unusual but badly needed alliance to argue for a path forward to address the twin threats of a changing climate and growing economic inequality. That path forward includes imposing a price on carbon … Continue Reading


Are We on the Cusp of Crippling the CFPB?

by Sheldon Whitehouse

On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the culmination of Wall Street's sustained assault on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Killing off the CFPB would be a blow to the countless Americans this agency protects. But the powerful forces attacking the CFPB have even greater aspirations. They desire to cripple Congress' ability to establish independent agencies to safeguard Americans' health, safety and econom… Continue Reading


Impeachment: What Trump’s Missing Witnesses Say

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In the ongoing Senate impeachment trial, the White House's defense of President Donald Trump hinges on keeping damning documents and witness testimony out of evidence. That is why, for the rst time in our history, a president has deed every request for documents and witnesses from House impeachment investigators, and gone to extraordinary lengths to stop members of his own administration from testifying. We have a party, in a trial, who controls the witnesses who know his true conduct, and that… Continue Reading


With Supreme Court Mired in Dark Money, Time for Large Dose of Transparency

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In 1971, prominent corporate lawyer and future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote a memo for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said, "the American economic system" - which seems to mean the power of corporate America - "is under broad attack" from academics, the media, leftist politicians, and other progressives. Against the nefarious forces of the anti-war, civil rights and environmental movements, Powell wrote: . . . independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as… Continue Reading


Climate change and dark money

by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

The earth is spinning toward climate catastrophe. The international community has about a decade to take the steps necessary to avoid breaching the 1.5 degrees Celsius safety zone that the scientific community has established. It will take American leadership to achieve that goal, which means not only bold action in Congress, but meaningful leadership from the president, our allies around the globe, and leadership from powerful forces like major corporations. Unfortunately, much of corporate Am… Continue Reading


The unglamorous job of federal budgeting

by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mike Enzi (R-WY)

OPINION - It is no secret that a vast majority of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Too often our political debates are characterized by hyperpartisanship, rather than achieving meaningful outcomes for the American people. Nowhere is this problem more acute than when it comes to our inability to address our country's unsustainable fiscal course. Our current budget process is broken, as evidenced by mounting debt and deficits, a patchwork of temporary spending bills, government … Continue Reading


R.I. hospitals should coordinate, not split themselves apart

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Once the hard feelings of the recent failed hospital merger abate, we need to get back to work improving health-care delivery in Rhode Island. Competition works in much of the economy, but not so well in health care; not when you're brought to the emergency room unconscious; not for complicated illnesses; not for people managing multiple conditions. Rhode Island has invested a lot of effort into building the elements of a smart, coordinated system to serve patients, especially in the areas of d… Continue Reading


On Kavanaugh and the FBI, time to investigate the investigation: Sen. Whitehouse

by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

When I was a U.S. attorney, I worked closely with the FBI. When the FBI investigators were looking at something, what they wanted was information. The FBI is a machine for the acquisition and retention of information on cases. When the FBI began repelling and deflecting information in its investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's alleged history of sexual misconduct last year, that was unusual - a warning flag. Because of my position on the Senate Judiciary Committee, people reached out to my of… Continue Reading


The Supreme Court has become just another arm of the GOP

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, represents Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate. Politics is a team sport. We battle, and our courts are supposed to referee our disputes. But what if one team spent years and millions of dollars to capture the referees, so the refs could declare that team the winner whenever they fell short on the field? If you were on the other team, you'd cry foul. You'd ask: "Hey, when did the law become a team sport, too?'' A few weeks ago, several Senate co… Continue Reading


'Knick'-Picking: Why a Recent SCOTUS Ruling Signals a New Day

by Sheldon Whitehouse

For years, back to when I argued the U.S. Supreme Court case Palazzolo v. Rhode Island as Rhode Island's attorney general, big-money developers and regulated industries and the lawyer groups that front for them have been trying to turn the Constitution's takings clause into a weapon against the government. The court's decision in Knick v. Township of Scott just gave them a big prize-and showed how much control those interests now have. At first glance, the facts in Knick are unremarkable: a par… Continue Reading


Saving the oceans — one place where Congress can agree

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Francis Rooney

Human beings have not always been good stewards of our oceans. We have overexploited their natural gifts, polluted their waves with garbage, acidified them with carbon dioxide, and threatened their shores with offshore drilling. Thankfully, there is bipartisan support in Washington to take action. We come from different regions, backgrounds, and political parties. Yet we are united by our passion for keeping our coasts and oceans healthy. In New England, our fishing heritage has long been tied… Continue Reading

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