Is Stabenow the Secret Holder?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Aug 28, 2006 3:57 PM

Someone's still got a secret hold on the Obama/Coburn legislation, which would create a searchable online database for government spending.

Is it Debbie Stabenow? If so, I'm doubting that will play well in her fight against Bouchard.

Update: Hee.

Update 11:44pm: And, the secret hold hits primetime.

58 senators have denied. Anyone think we'll score a perfect 100? Now that could be fun. And, the leakfest begins...

Check the scoreboard, here. It's about to heat up.

Update 12:05am: Was just Google searching a bit and found that Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden co-sponsored a resolution in 2002 to eliminate secret holds:

This effectively prevents the Senate leadership from attempting to bring the matter before the Senate.

A Senator might place a hold on a piece of legislation or a nomination because of legitimate concerns about that legislation or nomination.

 However, there is no legitimate reason why a Senator placing a hold on a matter should remain anonymous. I believe in the principle of open government.

Lack of transparency in the public policy process leads to cynicism and distrust of public officials. I would maintain that the use of secret holds damages public confidence in the institution of the Senate.
 
It has been my policy, and the policy of Senator Wyden as well, to disclose in the Congressional Record any hold that I place on any matter in the Senate along with my reasons for doing so.
Ron Wyden is not the holder. Grassley has not yet spoken up. It would seem it would be easy for him to give a position on this. Unless...nah... It had two other co-sponsors-- Landrieu (clear) and Lugar (not clear)-- and doesn't seem to have come up for a vote.

In 2003, Wyden, Grassley, Trent Lott, and Robert Byrd offered a similar resolution. Lott:

I believe that holds, whether anonymous, or publicly announced, are an affront to the Senate, the leadership, the Committees and to the individual members of this institution. As leader, I could not establish a rational and timely agenda for the institution to perform its business without having to first consult with, effectively, every other member of the Senate.
Neither Lott nor Byrd is yet in the clear. On this one, Mark Dayton was also a co-sponsor.
Mark Dayton is not in the clear. This one never came to a vote either, it seems.

Wyden again, in 2003, on the floor of the Senate.

So, Lott, Byrd, Dayton, Grassley, and Lugar should be able to speak up pretty quick, presumably. And if not? Man, that would be embarrassing.

I got wind of these over at the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. I don't know much about them, but they've got other Congressional documents on secrecy linked if you're interested, dating back to '97.

Update 1:12am: TPM Muckraker is keeping good track of the denials.