Feingold Rocks

Colorado’s current representatives in the U.S. Senate are Bush administration rubber stamp Wayne Allard, who earned the distinction of being named one of Time magazine’s Five Worst Senators in 2006, and Ken Salazar, whose first official act was introducing Attorney General nominee and craven liar Alberto Gonzales to the Senate.

Things figure to get better for the Colorado delegation with Allard’s retirement and the substantial possibility of five-term congressman Mark Udall winning the open seat, but Salazar will be DINOing his way through the Senate until at least January 2011.

By contrast, our friends in Wisconsin have Sen. Russ Feingold. One could write volumes on Feingold’s impressive qualities and voting record, but for present purposes I’ll limit my fawning affection to Feingold’s stance on arbitration.

Feingold had this editorial published at WisOpinion.com last week in which he discusses the evils associated with the mandatory binding arbitration clauses that corporate America buries in contracts covering everything from nursing home care to cellphone use. Sen Feingold correctly notes:

There’s nothing fair about some of the arbitration proceedings that consumers are forced into. A major arbitration firm actually advertised its services by pointing out how arbitration favors its corporate clients because arbitrations are secret, and consumers or employees have very limited rights to discovery and might even have to pay the costs of the arbitration if they lose.


The text of Feingold’s Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 is available here. Long story short, the bill would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to render pre-dispute arbitration agreements unenforceable as to certain consumer and employment disputes.

Does the AFA stand any chance of meeting a fate other than a quiet death in committee? I suspect not. The insurance, credit card and nursing home industries have too much to lose, and their lobbyists are spending money hand over fist to defeat the bill.

Even so, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. The average Joe has no idea whatsoever that he’s subject to multiple onerous arbitration “contracts” to which he never agreed. If nothing else, Feingold is spreading the word, and that’s gotta be a good thing.

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  • Zach  On May 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Yeah, I’ve long admired Russ Feingold, and it broke my heart when he chose not to run for President. Sure he’s not perfect, but his head’s screwed on straight, and we here in Wisconsin are fortunate to have someone as sensible as Feingold as our Senator.

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