Apologies for posting this Open Thread late, everyone.
Mitch McConnell is being squeezed from all over in his re-election bid. From the right, Jim DeMint’s Heritage Center, Brent Bozell’s For America group (and others) are running ads in Tennessee trying to make McConnell’s refusal to shut down the government over Obamacare a liability — making it very difficult for McConnell to appeal to any independents or moderates:
I was hoping for an effort much like that by Trent Lott and Bill Frist (with a big assist from the WH) to campaign against Tom Dashcle. Maybe the teajhadis will just take care of McConnell themselves!
Yet Cuccinelli’s stance shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. As a long recent feature in the Washington Monthly by David Dagan and Steve Teles detailed, conservatives have been softening their “tough-on-crime” positions for more than a decade now.
Some, like Cuccinelli, want to do so to ease the pressure on state budgets — after all, it’s expensive to maintain prisons. But it’s not entirely about money. In 2007, the GOP-run Texas legislature passed a bill to alleviate prison overcrowding by going easier on people who violated probation and by boosting funds for addiction treatment. At the time, the state had a huge budget surplus and easily could have built more prisons. But the Republican speaker of the state legislature wanted to reduce the incarceration rate instead.
Or take the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that drafts model legislation for state legislature. During the 1990s, ALEC was a major proponent of tougher sentences, while taking lots of money from the private-prison industry. But that’s changed. The group has now abandoned its support for privatization and, this August, adopted model legislation to reform mandatory minimum prison sentences at the state level.
Interesting. ALEC and their GOP beneficiaries abandoning the private-prison industry. And you know what? If the GOP could manage a serious set of policies that made the War on Drugs into more of a public health problem, they might actually have someplace to reach out to minority communities from.
This is genuinely important — if they can implement it — Defendants in securities cases have to admit their guilt as part of any settlement:
“In the interest of public accountability, you need admissions” in some cases, Ms. White told me. “Defendants are going to have to own up to their conduct on the public record,” she said. “This will help with deterrence, and it’s a matter of strengthening our hand in terms of enforcement.”
In a memo to the S.E.C. enforcement staff announcing the new policy on Monday, the agency’s co-leaders of enforcement, Andrew Ceresney and George Canellos, said there might be cases that “justify requiring the defendant’s admission of allegations in our complaint or other acknowledgment of the alleged misconduct as part of any settlement.”
They added, “Should we determine that admissions or other acknowledgment of misconduct are critical, we would require such admissions or acknowledgment, or, if the defendants refuse, litigate the case.”
This is a good step towards accountability. One step, though.
What interests you today?