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At Last, Reform Has Come

March 20, 2002

At Last, Reform Has Come

Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook

It has been 28 years since enactment of the last major campaign finance reform. Our opponents said this day would never come. They said reform of the corrupt political system would be “Armageddon.” But after years of struggle, today democracy has triumphed with our bipartisan legislative teamwork. We urge President Bush to sign this reform legislation into law immediately.

Of course, the long struggle for comprehensive campaign finance reform is far from over. Given past history, we will have to be vigilant to ensure this law is enforced. Armies of political lawyers will surely try to carve out new loopholes. Our goal for both state and national elections is to curb the power of very wealthy donors and adopt a framework modeled after the presidential system of small matching contributions and public funding.

Reform opponents will seek a court challenge to stall reform and enable politicians to continue riding the soft money wave. We are confident the court will sustain the measure approved today.

Today all those who love democracy can be proud of the U.S. Congress and the stellar leadership of our reform champions ? Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, as well as Reps. Chris Shays and Marty Meehan and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. All Americans owe them a deep debt of gratitude for helping us achieve this victory.