Campaign Finance Reform
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Remarks From Sen. John McCainPart Two Of Five
By Sen. John McCain
In agreement with Susan Tolchin's argument, there is a dire need to restore the public's faith in Congress and the electoral system. We believe the best way to do this is with campaign finance reform. Elections should be won or lost based on ideology, not fundraising. We must level the playing field between challengers and incumbents and bring a dramatic change to the status quo.
The public believes that special interests control the political and electoral system. Poll after poll demonstrates that the public has lost faith in the Congress and wants campaign finance reform to limit the ability of special interests to control the process. Following is a list of current polling data released by Public Citizen:
Some have charged that the McCain-Feingold bill limits soft money and hampers the ability of people to participate in the political system. The bill limits soft money and makes it "hard". But the bill in no way hampers people's ability to participate in the political system. Hard money means that the money can be traced to whoever gave it. This is exactly what the public wants.
But soft money, otherwise known as sewer money, is corrupting. I do not mean by this that politicians or anyone here in Washington is corrupt. But I do mean that money that is untraceable calls into doubt the integrity of the process. If someone wants to give, let them give, but let them also have the courage to say who they are and be identified with the recipient of their largess. That is what this is all about--accountability. There is nothing wrong with hard money being spent on campaigns. But there is something wrong with sewer money. Our bill merely makes that distinction.
Campaigns are not run for free. Our bill recognizes that fact. The bill does not end campaign spending, but it limits it in a manner that forces candidates to rely more on their message than their fundraising prowess.
The last time the Congress passed campaign finance reform was in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Watergate shook the very foundations of our democracy. Should we really wait until the next Watergate before we act again? The answer is no.