June 8, 2000
Senate Adopts Sens. McCain and Feingold’s “Section 527” Amendment
Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
Sen. John McCain s (R-Ariz.) bold move to introduce an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill requiring public disclosure of the identity and finances of organizations formed under Section 527 of the federal tax code forced the Senate to vote on a critical loophole in the campaign finance laws.
Public Citizen praises the efforts of Sens. McCain, Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), to shed sunlight on the shadowy underworld of the election process and is pleased that the Senate adopted this first step in reforming our corrupt campaign system.
The next hurdle reformers face is to pass the amendment expected to be offered by Sens. McCain and Feingold banning soft money — the unlimited contributions to political parties from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals. As has been the case three times in the past two years, Senate Republicans are threatening to filibuster the McCain-Feingold amendment and block the will of a majority of the Senate and of the American people.
Voters will be watching, as a vote against reform means a vote in favor of the special interests seeking to deny consumers a strong patients bill of rights, comprehensive Medicare drug coverage that stops drug industry price-gouging, and strong gun control legislation, among other issues whose outcome often is determined by the cash flow of the moneyed interests rather than the merits of the issue.