Speeches

09.13.22

Scheme 18: Leonard Leo’s $1.6 Billion Payday

This is the 18th time that I have come to the floor to expose the dark money scheme that has captured and controlled our Supreme Court. Over the last 2 years, I have, over and over, exposed how dark money operatives, working from the shadows, have installed Supreme Court Justices handpicked-handpicked-by the minions of far-right donors. I have exposed the key front groups through which this Court-packing operation is driven and the tactics that the schemers have used to hide the dark money donor… Continue Reading


09.07.22

Time to Wake Up 285: Executive Beast Mode

Mr. President, I will proceed with my trusty, battered ''Time to Wake Up'' chart and my-I don't know-280-something speech. For once, I can start with some good news, which is that the Democrats, at last, passed a climate-focused reconciliation bill this year. This is a huge step and essential, given the cascade of harms climate change is already inflicting: wildfire in Yosemite National Park, billions of dollars in flood damage; Europe broils in heat wave; extreme heat led to ''brutal'' rise in… Continue Reading


08.02.22

Scheme 17: Captive Court

Madam President, every once in a while, life gives you a wonderful coincidence. The wonderful coincidence this evening is that I have had the pleasure of listening to Senator SANDERS describe what happens to a country when billionaires are able to secretly exert immense political power and drive democracy away from its foundations and into the service of the billionaires. The remarks I am here to give are about how they do it-the technique for infiltration and influence of our democracy by the … Continue Reading


07.19.22

Sen. Whitehouse Testifies on his DISCLOSE Act in a Senate Rules Committee Hearing

Thank you Chair Klobuchar and Ranking Member Hagerty for inviting me to testify on the DISCLOSE Act. Twelve years after Citizens United, Americans know something is deeply amiss in our democracy. Huge majorities see America headed in the wrong direction. Fifty-eight percent of voters say our government needs major reforms or a complete overhaul. Only 25 percent of Americans say they have confidence in the Supreme Court. They see government actually erasing rights on which generations of Am… Continue Reading


07.19.22

Whitehouse Delivers Opening Remarks in Judiciary Committee Hearing on Seizing Russian Oligarchs’ Illicit Assets to Aid Ukraine

I'd like to start by thanking Chair Durbin for his invaluable support for today's hearing on how we can use asset forfeiture of Russian oligarchs' assets to aid Ukraine, and for his efforts to hold Russia accountable for its crimes against Ukraine and humanity. Thank you also to Ranking Member Grassley for your leadership and efforts to root out corruption, fraud, and abuse at home and abroad. And I've been honored to work with Senator Graham and Senator Bennet on this draft bill that we're wo… Continue Reading


07.13.22

The Scheme 16 - The Hothouse and West Virginia v EPA pt. 2

Mdm. President, I rise today now for the 16th time to call out the dark-money Scheme to capture and control our Supreme Court. The last time I rose to shine a light on this Scheme, I sounded a warning about a case then pending at the Supreme Court called West Virginia v. EPA. I discussed how The Court That Dark Money Built was primed to smash through precedent and weaponize fringe legal theories to deliver for the Scheme's big donors. I am sorry, but not surprised, to report that the Supreme … Continue Reading


07.12.22

The Role of the Federal Government in Attacking the Financial Networks of Cartels

Drug cartels, like kleptocrats and other criminals, skirt U.S. laws and exploit regulatory gaps to launder and protect the proceeds of their crimes in an international dark economy that facilitates much evil in the world. The U.S. must do more to expose and dismantle the cartels' finances and these international dark economy networks. First, we need to better understand the magnitude of narcotics-related illicit finance, and how it fits into the international dark economy. The Office of N… Continue Reading


06.22.22

Time to Wake Up #284 - A Carbon Border Adjustment

Mr. President, I rise now for the 284th time with my increasingly tattered and battered ''Time to Wake up'' poster to urge this Chamber to wake up on the issue of climate change. Human beings dumped 36.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere last year-last year. After all our big talk, after all the plans and the COPS and the commitments, 36.3 billion tons. That is the highest total ever recorded. We are not doing any better. We continue to do worse, and here in Congress, we cont… Continue Reading


06.15.22

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Delivers Opening Remarks in Drug Caucus Hearing on the 2022 National Drug Control Strategy

We lost over 107,000 Americans to drug overdose last year, including 453 Rhode Islanders, a painful reminder of the massive challenge ahead in addressing drug trafficking and substance use in this country. We must do better. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, or ONDCP, has a comprehensive plan with ambitious goals to meet by 2025, including : A 13 percent reduction in drug overdose deaths; Doubling treatment admissions for the populations most at risk of overdose death; … Continue Reading


06.14.22

The Scheme 15: The Hothouse and WV v. EPA

Mr. President, I rise now for the 15th time to call attention to the right-wing donors' long-planned Scheme to capture and control our Supreme Court. What I will talk about today is that Scheme's donor-funded doctrine factory, and a case in which The Court That Dark Money Built could weaponize dangerous, concocted doctrines to power up polluters and threaten a basic function of government. Before I get into this, let me say that I detest and condemn violence or threatened violence against memb… Continue Reading


06.08.22

Whitehouse Commemorates 250th Anniversary of the Burning of the Gaspee

Mr. President, this week marks the 250th anniversary of the first blow struck in the American Colonies' struggle for independence from the British Crown. I come to the Senate floor every year to commemorate this moment because it took place in Rhode Island at the hands of some brave and bold Rhode Islanders. Before recounting the tale of those bold Rhode Islanders, I would like to acknowledge a special guest with us in the Gallery today: Michael Tatham, Deputy Head of Mission for the British Em… Continue Reading


05.10.22

The Scheme Speech #14: The Attack on Roe

Madam President, I am here for the 14th time to keep unmasking the scheme to control our Supreme Court-a scheme that is now poised to destroy a woman's right to make her own reproductive health choices and to smash foundational Supreme Court precedent to get there. Last week, Politico confirmed a fear that many of us have had for years. We now see that the Supreme Court has at least five votes to eradicate Roe v. Wade, one of the most important decisions in the Court's history. For nearly half … Continue Reading


05.04.22

Sen. Whitehouse's Opening Remarks in a Hearing on the Political Activities of Tax Exempt Entities

Twelve years ago, the Supreme Court rested its decision in Citizens United on the false predicate that "effective disclosure" would let voters know who was speaking to them, and that important because it was the means by which it would dispel corruption. Well, instead, a torrent of dark money - a "tsunami of slime" it has been called - washed into our politics. That torrent washed into our politics from behind a veil of organizations formed under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. … Continue Reading


05.03.22

Time to Wake Up 283: Crying Out for American Leadership

Mr. President, this is my 283rd travel to the Senate floor to ask that we wake up to the threat of climate change-an issue that demands, right now, American leadership. Over the recent recess, I traveled to parts of the world where climate catastrophe looms, and I saw firsthand what the absence of American leadership has cost. My first stop was to the 2022 Our Oceans Conference in Palau, where I joined President Biden's Special Envoy for Climate, Secretary John Kerry, to discuss the state of ou… Continue Reading


05.03.22

Chairman Whitehouse Delivers Opening Remarks in a Courts Subcommittee Hearing on Judicial Ethics

I'll first veer from my prepared opening statement to report that today is a hell of a day to be considering ethics questions around the Supreme Court, and particularly the spectacular level of right-wing influence that seems to be the tendency of the Supreme Court since the Federalist Society has taken control of Republican judicial nominations. We do not know yet whether Justice Alito's leaked decision is going to be the decision of the Court or not, but as of the moment of this hearing, ther… Continue Reading


04.06.22

TTWU 282: Chamber of Carbon

Mr. President, I rise again, with my increasingly battered poster, to call on this body and in particular on corporate America to wake up to the threat of climate change. Just this week, the IPCC report came out saying that we are now at the door-die, last-chance moment. The other interesting thing about that IPCC report was that it, for the first time, focused on the role of malicious fossil fuel political influence in preventing the solution. Political influence is actually contributing to t… Continue Reading


03.31.22

Whitehouse Announces Vote to Confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Mdm. President, the reason I am here is to announce my intention to vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and to congratulate her on the grace and dignity with which she withstood what Chairman Durbin called her "trial by ordeal" in the Judiciary Committee. Last week, Judge Jackson set the gold standard for patience and courtesy from a Supreme Court nominee. She demonstrated, hour after hour after often agonizing hour, in plain view the qualities … Continue Reading


03.15.22

The Scheme 13: Auditioning

Mr. President, I rise again to discuss the scheme that has captured and now controls America's Supreme Court. If you have been following this series of speeches, you know that we have gone over the Powell memo and the plan it laid out for the corporate rightwing. We have gone over the technique of Agency capture, regulatory capture, that has been applied to the Supreme Court. We have gone over the turnstile, that big anonymous rightwing donor setup within the Federalist Society to approve Repub… Continue Reading


03.10.22

Time to Wake Up 281: To-Do List

Mr. President, I am here for a rather different reason. It is to call on this Chamber yet again to wake up to the urgent threat of climate change. I wish I was done with these ''Time to Wake Up'' speeches. Frankly, I wish I had never had to deliver a single one. I wish Congress had dealt with this threat-for instance, back when another Senator from Rhode Island, Republican John Chafee, held hearings on the looming challenge of carbon dioxide pollution. I wish we had dealt with it when the Hous… Continue Reading


03.02.22

Ending Kleptocracy's March

Mr. President, as I rise today, kleptocracy is on the march in Europe showing how unchecked corruption leads to evil. Vladimir Putin's corrupt regime fabricated a pretext to invade and subjugate the sovereign and peaceful nation of Ukraine. Putin's attack helps divert the Russian people from his festering corruption and misrule, as jailed Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny put it. America and our allies are meting out stiff sanctions, and my colleagues and I here in Congress are working on… Continue Reading

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