It’s no secret I am not the biggest fan of the politicians in South Carolina. They continually do bone-headed things and make poor decisions. I do have to give some credit (albeit minimal) to Senator Jim DeMint.
I took exception to two things he has done, especially his voting against the so-called Franken Amendment. For more background on the issue, check out this old entry.
I sent an e-mail to both Senators DeMint and Lindsay Graham. It took four months, but DeMint (or more likely, someone in his camp) actually responded. The following is his response:
“Thank you for contacting me about the Franken Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. I appreciate you taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
Like you, I believe that sexual assault is one of the most heinous and unjustifiable crimes. I support the tough prosecution of laws to provide justice for victims and prevent future occurrences. As a husband and father, I consider rape indefensible and believe guilty parties should be punished to the full extent of the law.
The Franken Amendment was designed around the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was sexually assaulted at work and mistakenly believed that the arbitration agreement with her employer prevented her from having a court hearing. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agreement did not prevent her from taking her employers to federal court. Additionally, the Court ruled that arbitration clauses are between two parties and cannot prohibit the prosecution of crimes.
I voted against this amendment because our laws already protect victims of sexual assault. The real intent of the Franken Amendment was to prevent the Department of Defense from paying companies with existing contracts if those companies use arbitration, an idea that has been promoted at the encouragement of trial lawyers for years. Senator Franken was given the opportunity to rewrite the amendment so that it focused on rape prevention, but he refused. It should be noted that under President Obama, the Department of Defense opposed the Franken Amendment as well.
Thanks again for sharing your views with me. Rest assured that I will do everything in my power to keep American families safe from violent crimes. Please contact me again in the future about anything important to you or your family. It is an honor to serve you and the people of South Carolina.
United States Senator”
So, he gets credit for responding and at least feigning interest in what I had to say. I completely disagree with his “real reason” he voted against the amendment, but he tried.