E-Legislative Action Alert
Campaign Reform Act of 2001 (S. 27)
"soft money" dnoations from corporations, unions and individuals
would be outlawed by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of
2001 (McCain-Feingold Legislation) [To view this bill, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:s.00027:
] The proposed legislation would also include other provisions
to regulate the influence of money in politics.
to Senator John McCain and other proponents of campaign finance reform,
excessive spending on campaigns by candidates has caused public cynicism
about and mistrust of the United States government. In fact, the reformers
claim that Congress should move immediately to pass new campaign finance
laws because of the public's outcry over this issue. However, according
to statistics on public opinion, the cynicism about politics was the
result of events occurring in American history that the government
was responsible for, not the issue of campaign contributions to candidates.
During a period that included the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the
economic mistakes of the Carter Administration (1964-1980), public
trust declined steadily. (See Money and Politics; People's Chief Concerns:
On March 15,
2001, President Bush presented his ideas for campaign finance reform
legislation. His three main goals included a ban on soft-money donations
by corporations and labor unions, protection of the rights of individuals
and groups to express their views, and prohibiting of unions or corporations
from using stockholder or member funds for political activities without
their permission. And, unless the McCain-Feingold bill includes "paycheck
protection" for union members and other provisions that many
Democrats consider to be unpalatable, Senator McCain's measure will
not be signed by the President, even if it makes it through Congress.
If it becomes
law, the McCain-Feingold bill poses fundamental free-speech questions
and faces inevitable court challenges. The Supreme Court will probably
have to resolve the restrictions imposed by the measure. Lawrence
Noble, a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission
who is executive director of the pro-reform Center for Responsive
Politics said, "Everyone recognizes that there are constitutional
issues in McCain-Feingold, and everyone assumes it will end up at
the Supreme Court if it passes and is signed." (Charles Lane,
"Court Challenge Likely if McCain-Feingold Bill Passes. Foes
Cite Free-Speech Issues as Debate on Campaign Finance Reform Begins,"
The Washington Post, March 19, 2001)
McCain and his supporters were serious about campaign finance reform,
they would consider repealing the limits on individual and political
action committees (PACs) contributions to candidates and parties as
well as party contributions to candidates, thus leveling the playing
field between incumbents and challengers. The overtly complex regulatory
process would be simplified, and intrusive FEC investigations that
last for years would be lessened. The transparency and political FEC
accountability of the electoral process would be improved, and most
importantly, would not infringe on the freedom of speech afforded
to by the First Amendment.
information on campaign finance reform, go to http://americanvoiceinstitute.org/CampaignFinanceReform.htm
Can You Do?
Send a message
to your national senators expressing
your opposition to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001 (S.
senators and urge them to oppose the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
of 2001 (S. 27).
Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will
direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senators' offices.)
To go to your
senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
To view a
sample letter to a senator, go to http://www.americanvoiceinstitute.org/CampaignFinanceLetter.htm