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Senate Follows House Lead in Passing
"Unconstitutional" Campaign Finance Reform

For Immediate Release. March 21, 2002 Both Senators and Congressmen have taken an oath to uphold the 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 assemble to petition the Government for a redress or grievances.”  Yet on March 20, 2002, the Senate joined the House of Representatives and decided 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 government officials would rather ignore and no longer have to feel threatened by negative advertisement. 

Unfortunately after the Senate passed the measure, President Bush said that he would sign the legislation into law.

A year ago on March 15, 2001, President Bush presented his ideas for campaign finance reform legislation.  His three main goals included:

  1. A ban on soft-money donations by corporations and labor unions
  2. Protection of unions or corporations from using stockholder or member funds for political activities without their permission
  3. Protection of the rights of individuals and groups to express their views

He also advised that unless the bill included “paycheck protection” for union members and other provisions that Democrats consider unpalatable, the measure would not be signed into law, even if it made it through Congress.

Well, that was last year and this is this year, and the campaign finance reform measure does not include the provisions that the President wanted, especially “paycheck protection.”  And yet, the President will now sign the measure into law when last year he said he would not.

“Tragically, President Bush in the last few weeks has made several decisions, not for what is right and principled but for what is politically advantageous,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “First, he increased the tariffs on steel, abandoning his free market principles. Next, he criticized Israel’s recent military actions in the West Bank in its fight against terrorism. Then, he helped direct the U.S. involvement in a resolution formally endorsing the concept of a Palestinian state, and now he will accept 'unconstitutional' campaign finance reform.  Only God knows what will be next.”

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
757-436-5927
jrutkowski@americanvoiceinstitute.org

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