H.R. 6116, the Fair Elections Now Act, passed out of the House Rules and Administration Committee last month; now Common Cause helps you tell Speaker Pelosi to bring the Fair Elections Now Act to the floor for a vote. This iteration of the Fair Elections Now act (which was previously H.R. 1852) now funds itself via sales of unused broadcast spectrum; I don't approve of dedicating certain funding streams to certain projects generally, nor do I approve of choosing that funding stream over, say, closing loopholes enjoyed by hedge fund managers, oil companies, or gas companies, but H.R. 6116 would still create a national campaign-financing system supported by government funds and small donors, and that's worth doing. Remember when perennial West Virginia Senate candidate John Raese told us that "I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it"? Well, if we had a strong public campaign finance system, clowns like John Raese could still run (by opting out of the system), but we could more easily shine a light on their clown-natures.
Meanwhile, H.R. 6153/S. 3798, the Foreign Prison Conditions Improvement Act of 2010, would pull funding from nations with Midnight Express-style prison conditions, and provide State Department assistance to nations trying to improve. Note (if you're looking up the bill on thomas.loc.gov) that Sec. 4 (b) (3) prohibits assistance from taking the form of new prison construction -- if the bill permitted building new prisons, only some Blackwater-type would benefit. Both House and Senate bills have one sponsor from each party; the Republican on the Senate bill is Sam Brownback (R-KS), who has made humane prison conditions a cause of his while he's been in office. I don't know if Massa DeMint will permit this bill to get a vote, but if he doesn't, let him explain why he won't. Maybe, just maybe, while he's droning on about how the bill isn't "hot-lined," some enterprising media member will respond but it's a bill so we don't send money to countries that torture prisoners! OK, maybe not. But maybe. Anyway, Amnesty International provides the contact tool.
Finally, the National Whistleblowers Center helps you ask candidates running for office near you whether they support strong protections for folks who blow the whistle on wrongdoing in industry and government. The contact tool pointedly does not ask candidates about their support for the relatively weak Senate whistleblower protection bill (S. 372), but it does (just as pointedly) ask about their support for the relatively strong H.R. 1507, passed twice by the House during this Congress. Let's see how many of them respond. They're supposed to respond, really, even if they're not actually your Reps and Senators yet. Because, you know, they're supposed to be accountable to you, and you're not some corporate plant asking dumb questions so as to prevent other good citizens from asking honest questions.