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Excuses for Opposing Campaign Finance Reform

Sept. 6, 2001

Excuses for Opposing Campaign Finance Reform

Statement of Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen

Note: Joan Claybrook made the following comments during a press conference today in Washington, D.C., about campaign finance reform.

Let me tell you how members of Congress will have to explain a refusal to sign the discharge petition for campaign finance reform when they face constituents in the next election:

  • “Sure I opposed the discharge petition and the Shays-Meehan bill, but I believed wholeheartedly that it was good for democracy to let America?s most powerful corporations, unions and wealthy people triple their soft money contributions in the first six months of this year compared to four years ago. What the heck, the economy was raging the last few years wasn?t it?”
  • “I don?t believe that the soft money system is sapping our democracy and alienating millions of people. In America, you can buy anything!”
  • “The public really doesn?t overwhelmingly support reform, despite what the polls say. I know people love legalized bribery and want the people who pay the piper to call the tune.
  • “My colleagues warned me not to buck the Speaker of the House on this issue. They begged me to support devious tactics and unfair procedures that stifle debate and block misguided reform.”
  • “So what if the parties managed to get out more votes before the soft money explosion of the past 12 years? The real achievement of our political parties is that we now depend on big chunks of special interest money, making our fund-raising efforts a lot easier!”

I ask you, will this get politicians re-elected?