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Statement of Frank Clemente

September 10, 1998

Contact: Brian Dooley 202-588-7703

or Steve Weissman 202-546-4996 x385

Statement of Frank Clemente
Director, Public Citizen Congress Watch

Today’s vote demonstrates that a bipartisan majority of the Senate and House wants to reform our morally bankrupt campaign finance system. Only a minority of senators, led by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), continues to defend this sleazy system. Ironically, some of those who condemn Clinton campaign abuses from the last election are unwilling to condemn Congress’s continuing sell-out to powerful private interests.

Today in the Senate a determined minority prevented a fair yes or no vote a bill that has strong majority support and is of fundamental importance to every American. All public opinion polls shows that a majority of voters are for the McCain-Feingold reform bill. Voters are smart. They know that the abuses of the soft money system are partly responsible for Big Tobacco blocking comprehensive tobacco control legislation, for the HMOs blocking a patients bill of rights and for corporations getting special tax favors that increase the tax burden of average Americans.

The fight for reform in the 105th Congress is not over. We will continue to inform voters in key states about the moral and political betrayal occuring in the Senate. In coming days we plan to work with our Senate friends to encourage repeated votes and extended debate on campaign finance reform. There is only one way to bring home to opponents of reform the enormous moral and political cost of their obstructionism. They must be made to realize that business simply cannot proceed as usual any more. They should be subject to the daily embarrassment they richly deserve.