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Campaign Finance Reform Countdown


June 3, 1999

Contact: Steve Weissman or Dan O’Sullivan, (202) 546-4996


Campaign Finance Reform Countdown

6 Republicans Sign House Discharge Petition Only 16 More Needed

The Campaign Finance Reform Countdown has begun as six House Republicans signed a discharge petition last week to bring the Shays-Meehan bill (H.R. 417) to the floor for a vote. They join the 195 Democrats and one Independent who have already signed the petition.

The addition of the six Republicans to the petition brings the grand total of signatures to 202. If a majority of 218 House members sign the discharge petition, House action will occur soon (on the second or fourth Monday of the month after a seven day lapse). Last year, the signatures of just a dozen Republicans were sufficient to pressure Speaker Gingrich into scheduling a debate.

While not a full-fledged elephant stampede, the addition of the six Republicans on the petition indicates that support for reform is gaining momentum. As more Republicans decide to buck House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who has refused to bring the issue to the floor before September, the prospect of campaign finance reform legislation passing the House quickly grows.

Public Citizen congratulates the most recent signers for standing up to Speaker Hastert and demanding immediate action on campaign finance reform. Representatives Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), co-sponsor of the legislation, Michael Castle (R-Del.), Michael Forbes (R-N.Y.), Greg Ganske (R-Iowa), Connie Morella (R-Md.) and Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) deserve much praise for their actions.

The countdown to 218 will continue during the Congressional recess this week, as Republican supporters of Shays-Meehan return to their districts and hear from their constituents about the petition.

Now is the time to editorialize on this important issue. We encourage you to urge your Representative to join the courageous first six Republicans in standing up for reform by signing the discharge petition. It is time for sincere Republican reformers to back their words with action by joining the countdown to 218.