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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Senate to Vote on the
Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform
Bill

On Wednesday, February 14, 2002, the House of Representatives passed the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill.
(H.R. 2356; To view the bill visit: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.02356:)

Similar to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill which passed in the Senate earlier last year, the Shays-Meehan bill would ban "soft money" contributions. Through its passage, Constitutionally-protected free speech would be violated because of the bills' forbidance of issue advertising within 60 days of an election.

Final passage of this bill is expected next week by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

For more information about Campaign Finance Reform, click here.

What Can You Do?

Urge your representative to vote against this campaign finance reform bill.

Contact Information:

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senator's office.)

Addressing Correspondence:

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator (last name):

To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm

Campaign Finance Reform Bill in the Senate

Mailed or Faxed Correpondence...

To A Senator:

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator(last name):

As you know, both Senators and Congressmen have taken an oath to uphold the United States (U.S.) Constitution.  And the First Amendment of the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or the right of people to peaceably to assemble to petition the Government for a redress or grievances.”  Yet on February 14, 2002, the House of Representatives decide to break their oath and violate the Constitution when they passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001 (H.R. 2356).

The Supreme Court has already approved, as an exercise of the First Amendment rights, most soft-money activities ( i.e. Buckley v. Valeo 1976).  The right to free speech is lost if Congress has the ability to regulate all forms of campaign spending.  If citizens or organizations have to wonder whether every statement is or is not permissible, open political debate is impossible.  Also, politicians do not have to contend with citizens bringing up issues they would rather ignore and no longer have to feel threatened by negative advertisement.  For more than 200 years, Americans have been blessed with Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, but in one night, the House succeeded at eliminating some of these rights. 

There is no doubt that in the coming days, reformers will try to use every trick that they can muster to convince the American people that Enron is a political scandal that can be prevented in the future by campaign finance reform.  However, few Americans consider Enron a political scandal worthy of campaign finance reform although they do believe (and rightly so) that its collapse was a financial and criminal scandal.

According to recent polls, less than 25 percent of Americans think campaign finance reform should be a top priority, and only 35 percent think it is very or somewhat likely that campaign finance reform will pass Congress this year. (1)  Furthermore, this was supported by William Mayer, a Northwestern University political scientist who recently surveyed the public opinion data to conclude that "most Americans do not seem concerned about campaign finance." (2)  He said, "I was frankly surprised how strong the evidence is on this point."

As you constituent, I urge you to vote against this campaign finance reform bill.

Sincerely,

 (Your Name*)

*Be sure to include your complete address in the letter.

 

E-mail Correspondence...

 

The following format should be used in the body of your message:

Your Name
Address
City, State  Zip Code

Dear Senator (last name),

As you know, both Senators and Congressmen have taken an oath to uphold the United States (U.S.) Constitution.  And the First Amendment of the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or the right of people to peaceably to assemble to petition the Government for a redress or grievances.”  Yet on February 14, 2002, the House of Representatives decide to break their oath and violate the Constitution when they passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001 (H.R. 2356).

The Supreme Court has already approved, as an exercise of the First Amendment rights, most soft-money activities ( i.e. Buckley v. Valeo 1976).  The right to free speech is lost if Congress has the ability to regulate all forms of campaign spending.  If citizens or organizations have to wonder whether every statement is or is not permissible, open political debate is impossible.  Also, politicians do not have to contend with citizens bringing up issues they would rather ignore and no longer have to feel threatened by negative advertisement.  For more than 200 years, Americans have been blessed with Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, but in one night, the House succeeded at eliminating some of these rights. 

There is no doubt that in the coming days, reformers will try to use every trick that they can muster to convince the American people that Enron is a political scandal that can be prevented in the future by campaign finance reform.  However, few Americans consider Enron a political scandal worthy of campaign finance reform although they do believe (and rightly so) that its collapse was a financial and criminal scandal.

According to recent polls, less than 25 percent of Americans think campaign finance reform should be a top priority, and only 35 percent think it is very or somewhat likely that campaign finance reform will pass Congress this year. (1)  Furthermore, this was supported by William Mayer, a Northwestern University political scientist who recently surveyed the public opinion data to conclude that "most Americans do not seem concerned about campaign finance." (2)  He said, "I was frankly surprised how strong the evidence is on this point."

As your constituent, I urge you to vote against this campaign finance reform bill.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

*Be sure to include your complete address in the letter.

For more information about Campaign Finance Reform, click here.

 

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