July 12, 2001
Campaign Reformers Beat House Leadership
Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
It is encouraging that a Republican-crafted ploy that would have threatened the passage of significant campaign finance reform has been defeated in the House of Representatives today. Thanks to the efforts of House Democrats and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), the rule that would have divided the reform amendment into twelve parts and required a separate vote on each one was confusing and rightfully voted down. Rather than face the threat of passing a bill they have never supported, the Republican leadership used sneaky tactics to deny Americans a cleaner, less corrupt government.
The defeat of this rule is a positive sign that a majority of the House is ready to pass significant campaign finance reform, but the Republican leaders have insured that the road to reform will be littered with more obstacles. Their true intentions were shown when, only minutes after the procedure was defeated, Speaker Hastert asserted that he didn’t know when campaign finance would appear on the floor again, and that it was time for the House to move on with the rest of its legislative agenda.
It’s shameful that this significant piece of legislation to give Americans better access to their government is threatened by a circle of Republican leaders. Congress must now do the right thing next week: adopt a fair procedure under which the bill may be voted upon, pass the legislation, and stop hoodwinking the American people.