More headlines: Hillary Clinton on Government Reform

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Called for ban on all soft money in 2000 campaign

When the focus of the [Senate debate with Rick Lazio] turned to campaign commercials and the use of so-called soft money, the moderator showed clips of a Lazio commercial. The ad was paid for with soft money, large contributions that could be used by political committees to attack a candidate’s opponent. I had earlier called for a ban on all soft money, but I wasn’t going to commit to it unilaterally. The Republicans had refused to forswear the use of soft money from outside groups, some of whom were busily raising $32 million in support of Lazio’s Senate bid.

Near the end of the debate, Lazio marched over to me, waving a piece of paper called the “New York Freedom from Soft Money Pact”--and demanded my signature. I declined as he shouted, “Sign it right now!” I offered to shake hands, but he kept badgering me.

I wasn’t sure how Lazio’s confrontational ploy would be received. Opinion polls soon made it clear that a lot of voters, especially women, were offended by Lazio’s tactics.

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p. 520 Nov 1, 2003

Lazio received $1M donation from housing industry

Q: Campaign finance. Mr. Lazio, you’ve taken contributions from the housing industry, and you serve on a committee that regulates housing.

LAZIO: If you look at the average donation that I receive, it’s like less than $100. In the House, of course I’ve been very active on housing issues.

Q: But have you gotten heavy contributions from the housing industry?

LAZIO: We’ve gotten contributions from a whole range of people with different interests that are important to the quality of life of New Yorkers

CLINTON: He received a million dollars in contributions from the home-building industry and from the manufacturers of homes. And in return, at least there is an appearance that he did several things. He fought to weaken the safety standards for manufactured housing and in-home building.

LAZIO: That’s absolutely false. And you know it, Mrs. Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, Mr. Lazio, you just referred to The Daily News, which ran an investigative article which made exactly that point.

Source: (X-ref Lazio) NY Senate debate on NBC Oct 28, 2000

Can we trust as a senator someone who broke an agreement?

Q: Do you support campaign finance reform?

LAZIO: I voted for campaign finance reform. I have run this campaign abiding by McCain-Feingold. We have not raised a dime of soft money. I do not agree with public financing because the voters should decide who is elected. We should not have welfare for politicians.

CLINTON: I think we need to change the system of campaign financing. I just have to remark that Mr. Lazio’s campaign violated the very simple agreement that we entered. Last month, Mr. Lazio said that this was an issue of trust and character. If New Yorkers can’t trust him to keep his word for 10 days, how can they trust him for six years on issues like Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs and education?

LAZIO: Mrs. Clinton, no lectures from Motel 1600 on campaign finance reform. I took a legitimate contribution of clean hard money. My opponent objected. Because I have a commitment to campaign finance reform and to this agreement, I refunded the money.

Source: (X-ref Lazio) Senate debate in Manhattan Oct 8, 2000

Agrees to soft-money ban if it includes independent ads

LAZIO: I have right here a pledge that I sent over to my opponent. It’s a ban on soft money pledge. I’m willing to say we will neither raise nor spend a dime of soft money and ask all outside groups to stay away if my opponent is willing to do the same.

CLINTON: In May I made exactly that offer. I said, “Let’s forego soft money, but let’s also be sure we don’t have these independent expenditures.” If you will get signed agreements from all your friends and will not be running so-called independent ads, will not be doing push polling, will not be doing mass mailings with outrageous personal attacks, I think we can have an agreement.

LAZIO: I’d be happy to get signed agreements, but I want to get it done right now. I don’t want any more wiggle room. Here it is. Let’s sign it. It’s the New York Freedom from Soft Money Pact.

CLINTON: Well, I would be happy to when you give me the signed letters.

LAZIO: Sign it right now.

CLINTON: We’ll shake on it.

LAZIO: No, I want your signature.

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY Sep 13, 2000

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014