Words cannot express how profoundly the tragic events at the Boston Marathon have affected our Commonwealth. My deepest condolences go out to the families of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Officer Sean Collier. I pray that their families find some solace in the outpouring of support from across the country and around the world. My thoughts are also with those who were wounded by the explosions -- many who are still hospitalized with serious injuries. I wish them nothing but the best on their way to full recovery.
Much has already been said about "the helpers" -- those first responders, law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, race volunteers, and spectators who ran towards the victims in the immediate aftermath of the bombings. Your courage and commitment to helping others in the face of overwhelming danger is truly moving. Special thanks also to law enforcement from different agencies and levels of government who worked tirelessly together to find and bring the perpetrators to justice last week.
Last Monday wasn't just "Marathon Monday," it was also Patriots' Day, a holiday to commemorate the ride of Paul Revere and the battles at Lexington and Concord, which sparked a movement for freedom that led to the birth of our great nation. The ideals that early Americans fought for are those we cherish to this day, and we will not allow anyone to compromise that freedom. I am inspired by the resilience of our city. I am inspired by the runners in Boston and all over the world who have already pledged to run the marathon next year in honor of the victims. I am inspired by those who refuse to be intimidated by this despicable act of violence.
In his remarks last week at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, President Obama recalled E.B. White's poem: "Boston is the perfect state of grace." Never have those words been truer than in the aftermath of these horrific attacks. I know there are questions in need of answers and much we still do not know, but with time a clearer picture will emerge. For now, I want to focus on those who lost so much on April 15th. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.
New District Office, Expanded Office Hours, Open House
Redistricting increased the size of our congressional district, adding the communities of Everett, Milton and Randolph, as well as some additional Boston neighborhoods. In order to better serve our constituents, we have opened a satellite district office in Randolph and invite you to stop by for an open house on Monday May 13th from 5:00 -- 7:00 PM. The office is located at 6 South Main Street in Stetson Hall, Room 124. It will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM. We are also expanding our office hours program to include Everett and Milton. A staffer will be at Everett City Hall on the first Monday of every month, from 4:00--5:00 PM. Milton office hours will be held on the third Tuesday of every month from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Milton Fuller Village Library, located at 1372 Brush Hill Road. We established the office hours program to give constituents the chance to meet with a member of my staff at a location that may be more convenient than one of our offices. You can visit our website for a complete list of office hours locations.
Shareholder Protection Act
This week I reintroduced the Shareholder Protection Act with Senator Robert Menendez, which requires CEOs to seek authorization from a majority of shareholders before a corporation can spend money from its general treasury on political activities. It also requires the disclosure of these expenditures. The legislation has 24 original cosponsors.
I first filed this bill in 2010, following the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which fundamentally re-wrote the nation's campaign finance laws. When the court ruled that corporations should be treated as persons under the First Amendment with regard to election spending, it gave corporations an outsized voice in the political process. This decision allows corporations to overshadow the voice of the voter.
The Shareholder Protection Act of 2013 would require a majority of shareholders to authorize an overall political budget before general treasury funds can be spent on political activities. The Board of Directors must also vote to authorize expenditures over $50,000 within the overall budget approved by shareholders. It also requires that corporate political spending be disclosed to shareholders, the SEC, and the public on a quarterly basis, and board approval of significant expenditures disclosed on-line within 48 hours. I look forward to continuing to build support for this much-needed legislation.
This week I joined Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rep Frank Wolf (R-VA) in introducing H.R. 1692: the "Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2013." 2013 marks 10 years since the beginning of war crimes in Darfur that the U.S. government found to constitute genocide. This legislation builds on previous bipartisan efforts to help the people of Sudan.
There is still far too much suffering in Sudan. This legislation expands existing sanctions so that they apply to human rights violations in the whole country, not just Darfur, which has been the site of such horrific violence. For too long, the people of Sudan have been subject to unimaginable atrocities, and we must continue doing everything we can to ease their misery.
Last week, we did not send an e-update because of the Marathon bombings. I did, however, want to share with you some information about a bill that the House passed last week, H.R. 624: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This bill was similar to legislation introduced in the 112th Congress, aimed at facilitating information sharing regarding cyber threats between private entities and the government. While several changes were made to the bill to address Members' concerns about personal privacy, it still fell short of defining the limits that need to be placed on the government when it comes to the sharing of private personal information. I could not vote for this legislation last year, and I oppose it this year. The President has similar concerns and issued a veto message on CISPA, saying he cannot sign it into law without changes that will safeguard against the misuse of personal private information. I would have voted NO on this bill, but I was in Boston for the interfaith memorial service. H.R. 624 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:
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What's up Next Week
A district work period is scheduled for next week.