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Topics in the News: Campaign Finance


Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform : Jan 21, 2015
Campaign contributions only for election-related expenses

Proposal #61: Pass real campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of money on our government: New York's laws regarding how campaign funds can be spent are among the most lax in the nation, allowing candidates and former public officials to spend funds on personal expenses with no real connection to candidacy or public office. Under the Governor's reforms, contributions could be used only for expenses that are directly related to elections or public duties. Expenditures for the exclusive personal benefit of the candidate or office-holder would be prohibited and a long list of expressly prohibited expenditures would be memorialized in statute.
Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: State of the State address to 2015 New York Legislature

Jeb Bush on Homeland Security : Jan 1, 2015
Issues where Rand Paul disagrees with Jeb Bush

Where do Jeb Bush & Rand Paul disagree on the issues? They do agree on many issues, but they disagree on the core libertarian-versus-centrist list:
For state-run conservation
IssueJeb BushRand Paul
EnvironmentOpposes EPA strongly
Campaign Finance ReformOpposes donation limitsRestrict lobbyists
Drug policyNo medical marijuana Legalize hemp & marijuana
Crime & PunishmentTough on crimeFocus on rights of the accused
Foreign policyStrength-based engagementNon-interventionism
Mideast policy Focus on Iran & othersStay out
Cuba policyStrengthen embargoEnd embargo
Defense spendingIncrease budgetAudit the Pentagon
Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Jeb Bush vs. Rand Paul On The Issues, by Jesse Gordon

Hillary Clinton on Government Reform : Jul 21, 2014
Consider Constitutional Amendment against Citizen's United

While eying a potential presidential run that would surely be boosted by deep-pocketed super PACs, Hillary Clinton said that she's open to supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which opened the door to the outside groups and the flood of money that poured into the political process with them: "I would consider supporting an amendment among these lines that would prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money if there is no other way to deal with the Citizen's United decision," she said in response to a question on the measure.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Alex Seitz-Wald on MSNBC, "Citizens United"

Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform : Jul 8, 2014
Committed to campaign finance reform

To secure the last-minute endorsement of the powerful progressive Working Family Party, which had previously favored Teachout, Cuomo was forced to make a series of pledges supported by progressives, including commitments to support a higher minimum wage and campaign finance reform. To secure the last-minute endorsement of the powerful progressive Working Family Party, which had previously favored Teachout, Cuomo was forced to make a series of pledges supported by progressives, including commitments to support a higher minimum wage and campaign finance reform.
Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: Epoch Times on 2014 New York State Governor's race

Martin O`Malley on Principles & Values : May 14, 2014
Fundraising via O'Say Can You See PAC

Even O'Malley supporters acknowledge that he has hurdles when it comes to name identification and fundraising. O'Malley has tried to increase his national presence, speaking at Democratic Party events like the California Democratic State Convention, New Hampshire Jefferson Jackson Dinner and to the Wisconsin Democratic Party and Clark County (Nevada) Democratic Party.

O'Malley's O'Say Can You See PAC had nearly $298,000 in its coffers at the end of March, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. His camp says the total was low because O'Malley didn't fundraise during the Maryland legislative session.

O'Malley has shown some fundraising chops--he was a member of President Barack Obama's National Finance Committee for his 2012 campaign and bundled $500,000.

Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: Politico.com 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Newt Gingrich on Government Reform : Apr 6, 2014
Allow unlimited campaign contributions to anybody

On the Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v FEC striking down total limits on campaign donations, Gingrich said that even more deregulation is necessary to "overnight, equalize the middle class and the rich." Gingrich cited the 1976 decision Buckley v. Valeo, which equated limiting contributions with limiting freedom of expression. Gingrich said that "you've gone from that original decision to Citizens United, which said, in effect, that corporations could give and created super PACs. Now you've said they're unlimited." The 2010 Citizens United ruling allowed unlimited amounts of money via super PACs. The McCutcheon decision lets individuals give an unlimited total amount directly to parties and candidates, so long as they stay within limits for individual campaigns.

Gingrich added, "The next step is the one Justice Clarence Thomas cited--candidates should be allowed to take unlimited amounts of money from anybody. And you would, overnight, equalize the middle class and the rich."

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Huffington Post 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Gary Johnson on Government Reform : Dec 12, 2013
New SuperPAC, "Our America PAC", for principled candidates

2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee and chairman of the Our America Initiative, Gary Johnson announced yesterday the formation of a Super PAC called Our America PAC. The new Super PAC has the goal of supporting and ultimately getting into elective public office, principled candidates committed to smaller government, fiscal conservatism and individual liberty. This is separate from the Our America Initiative, which advocates on issues.

Johnson said, "More Americans than ever are ready to take a serious look at candidates who offer real alternatives to business-as-usual. However, the reality of our political system is that voters must first have the opportunity to learn about those candidates and their plans for smaller government and greater freedom. That is the purpose of the Our America PAC. Voters deserve real choices beyond varying shades of big government, and helping provide those choices is our goal. We intend to make a real difference in the upcoming 2014 elections."

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: The Examiner on 2014 New Mexico Governor race

Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform : Jan 9, 2013
Adopt NYC's public campaign finance system statewide

Public Financing of State Elections: New York City's existing public financing matching system, the Campaign Finance Program (CFP) administered by the Campaign Finance Board, provides the ideal model for statewide reform.

New York's public financing system need not be a burden on its taxpayers. The system should be funded, in whole or in substantial part, from sources beyond general revenues from taxpayers. Furthermore, under the State campaign finance program, candidates should be required to agree to participate in debates in order to receive public financing.

New York State's contribution limits for candidates must be lowered generally, with even lower limits for those candidates who receive the benefits of public matching financing. Large contributions to and transfers from political party committee accounts are currently unlimited and should be limited. The current annual limit on aggregate contributions from a contributor to a party or constituted committee should be reduced.

Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet

Mitt Romney on Government Reform : Aug 27, 2012
FactCheck: Ryan more liberal than Romney on campaign finance

Paul Ryan does not agree with Gov. Romney on all issues--for example on campaign finance reform: Ryan voted for a ban on soft money donations in 2001 and for disclosure of lobbyist bundled donation in 2007, while Romney says that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law "hurt the First Amendment" with reform like those Ryan voted for. Obama and Biden agree with Ryan on this issue, too. You can read about all of their differences (and their agreements) in side-by-side form our summary of our book:
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Paperback: Obama-Biden vs. Romney-Ryan On The Issues

Marco Rubio on Principles & Values : Jun 19, 2012
2011: Formed "Reclaim America PAC" to support conservatives

Making friends with money had been effective for Rubio in Tallahassee, and he went back to that strategy in Washington, forming a political action committee called Reclaim America PAC. The intent was to support conservative Republican candidates. It was patterned on a PAC formed by Sen. DeMint that had supported Rubio in the Florida politician's senate race. Rep. Eric Cantor [formed a similar PAC]. Like Rubio, Cantor is a young lawmaker who is being touted as a potential future president or V.P.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.187

Ted Cruz on Principles & Values : Apr 20, 2012
OpEd: His law firm donated $200,000 to Obama's campaign

During the Q&A portion of the debate, Dewhurst needled Cruz for not going on record to support Sen. John Cornyn's bid for a GOP leadership position.

The filing deadline for the first quarter of 2012 was Sunday. Dewhurst raised $1.7 million and Cruz raised $1.3 million.

The night before the debate, the Texas Conservatives Fund, Dewhurst's Super PAC run by Dewhurst's former chief-of-staff, put out a new attack ad on Cruz. "Shattered Vision" calls Cruz a "false conservative" whose law firm has donated over $200,000 to Obama's campaign, sides with Chinese businesses over American ones, and opposed lowering property taxes in 2006. The ad's epic graphics, dark imagery and daunting music make Cruz out to be some sort of Manchurian candidate. Essentially, standard Republican fare, but a sign nonetheless that Dewhurst will be hitting Cruz back hard until Election Day.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: BurntOrangeReport.com on 2012 Texas Senate Debate

Rick Perry on Government Reform : Sep 23, 2011
McCain-Feingold unconstitutionally restricts of free speech

Governor Perry seems to have evolved on political free speech. Over twenty years ago, Perry proposed that contributions to candidates for Governor should be limited to $2,500 per person per year, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Perry now believes that "contribution limits impede free speech, and he no longer supports them." He has called the onerous McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance law an "unconstitutional.restriction of free speech."
Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #10: Perry

Mitt Romney on Government Reform : Jun 7, 2011
1994: campaign spending limits and the abolition of PACs

During his 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy, Romney took a position on campaign finance reform that put him to the left of the current McCain-Feingold legislation, arguing for campaign spending limits--unconstitutional even under Buckley v. Valeo--and the abolition of PACs:

"I personally believe that when campaigns spend the kind of money they're now spending, to get that kind of money you've got to cozy up as an incumbent to all of the special-interest groups who can go out and raise money for you from their members, and that kind of relationship has an influence over the way you're going to vote. And for that reason I would like to have campaign spending limits and to say we're not going to spend more than this in certain campaigns. I also would abolish PACS. I don't like them. I don't like the influence of money--whether it's business, labor, or any other group. I do not like that kind of influence."

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #5: Romney

Mitt Romney on Government Reform : Jun 7, 2011
2002: publicly fund campaigns; 2008: repeal McCain-Feingold

In his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Romney proposed a radical new campaign finance system, in which privately-funded campaigns would be taxed 10% in order to fund publicly-funded campaigns as part of Massachusetts' Clean Election Law in order to "spare taxpayers the burden of shouldering the entire expense of this program." In 2003, he allowed a repeal of the Clean Elections Law to stand.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Mitt Romney pivoted drastically, abandoning his old anti-First Amendment stance and taking the harshest position against McCain-Feingold of all the candidates. He has called repeatedly for the legislation's repeal, and even labeled the bill "one of the worst things in my lifetime." Romney then advocated "reforms that promote transparency & disclosure, preserve grassroots activism and protect the ability to criticize or endorse current officeholders and candidates."

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #5: Romney

Rick Santorum on Government Reform : Jun 6, 2011
1997: In-state campaign donation cap $4K; out-of-state $1K

Santorum voted NO on the McCain-Feingold bill in 2002, later calling it "an affront to personal freedoms and liberty." Before, in 1997, Santorum offered an alternative campaign finance reform bill, ensuring that "contributing to campaigns must be completely voluntary." The practical effect of his proposal would have been that unions couldn't use their members' dues on political activity without their permission.

But Santorum has supported a milder form of limits on political speech. Namely, he advocated low contribution limits in his 1997 bill. His proposal actually increased the individual cap from $1,000 to $4,000, but only for in-state residents. Out-of-state donors would still be capped at $1,000. On the Senate floor, Santorum said, "The fact of the matter is, we have low limits. I think we should keep them relatively low, but they should be high enough so people can have some ability to form a little bit of seed corn to start a campaign if they want to run for office."

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #4:Santorum

Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform : Jan 5, 2011
Supports campaign finance reform as fair to all candidates

In order to restore trust and accountability in government, we must reform the ballot box. The State's campaign finance laws fail to prevent the dominance of wealthy contributors and special interests in government. Campaign finance reform must include a system of public funding of elections. The State needs a system of campaign financing to set limits on campaign spending and increase participation by candidates who otherwise would lack the means or connections to raise campaign funds.
Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: N. Y. 2011 gubernatorial press release "Assets SOS2011"

Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform : Nov 2, 2010
Tough new ethics standards & expand disclosure requirements

We must restore honor & integrity to government, with tough new ethics standards, expanded disclosure requirements, independent investigators to root out & punish corruption, & an overhaul of campaign finance laws. We must remove legislative redistrictin from partisan elected politicians & place it in the hands of an independent commission that works only for the people. And we must hold a constitutional convention--A People's Convention--to rewrite the Constitution and make these changes immediately.
Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: 2010 Gubernatorial campaign website, andrewcuomo.com

Barack Obama on Principles & Values : Jan 11, 2010
Required email list from every candidate event he attended

Obama revamped his political action committee, Hopefund. The PAC had raised a fair amount of money in 2005, but its email list was paltry. Hopefund could become an embryonic infrastructure for Obama's future ambitions. Obama said, "We need to grow these lists--at the end of the year, I want to have options."

Within Obama's operation, "the options" became a code phrase , a reference to three live possibilities: launching a presidential run, bolstering his stature in the Senate with an eye toward the VP slot in 2008, or returning to Illinois to run for governor--with a presidential bid so far remaining at the bottom of the option pile.

The scheme revolved around a simple transaction. Every time he did an event for a candidate, Hopefund would requir the beneficiary to set up a registration system and then turn over the attendees' email address to the PAC.

The was no small thing. As 2006 rolled on, the requests poured in. That added up to a lot of chits, and a lot of email addresses.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p. 32

Sarah Palin on Government Reform : Nov 13, 2009
FactCheck: Over half of her campaign funded by large donors

PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised fo her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC. Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees.

She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife in the weeks after the Republican lawmakers' offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she said she would give a comparative sum to charity after the general election in 2010, a date set by state election laws

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: AP Fact Check about "Going Rogue", in NY Times

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jun 20, 2008
GovWatch: No, McCain & RNC don’t get much money from PACs

Obama announced he would become the first presidential candidate since 1972 to rely totally on private donations for his general election campaign, opting out of the system of public financing and spending limits that was put in place after the Watergate scandal. One reason, he said, is that “John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.”

We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse. In fact, donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7% of McCain’s total receipts, and they account for only about 1.1% of the RNC’s receipts.

It’s not our place to comment on Obama’s financial strategy, except to note that it is perfectly legal and also that McCain and Obama both refused to accept public funds or spending limits during the primary campaign. We also note that Obama’s decision is likely to give him a big financial advantage over McCain in the weeks just before the election.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis

Jesse Ventura on Government Reform : Apr 1, 2008
Limit campaign money to one publicly-funded source

I think our elections are fraudulent today simply in how the system operates. Campaign finance "reform", that so-called bipartisan McCain-Feingold bill, is a sham. The 2 parties simply found loopholes and started cheating the very first year.

I cringe when I hear how many millions the 2008 presidential candidates have raised in campaign contributions.

I'm not big on socialism, but maybe it's time we limited the campaign money to one publicly funded source so that every candidate's share is equal. If that's unconstitutional, then why not remove all limits and go to full disclosure? At least that way, you know who is buying the influence.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.279-280

Mike Huckabee on Government Reform : Feb 10, 2008
Fundamental difference with McCain on campaign finance

Q: What is the biggest issue that separates you from John McCain?

A: I think the key issues are: that I support the human life amendment; that I don’t support human embryonic stem cell research; that I didn’t agree with the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act; and immigration. We have differences of opinion on how we ought to handle that. Those are the fundamental differences. And I think there are other, maybe, nuances. But you know, one of the things that I find interesting, the two most civil campaigns of the Republican primary are the ones still on their feet. And I do think that that says something about both the senator’s campaign and ours. It looks like Republicans really are responding to a more message-driven and positive campaign. I think that’s good for our party. I’d like to say I think it’s good for America.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer

Mitt Romney on Government Reform : Feb 5, 2008
GovWatch: 1994: advocated spending limit on elections

Top Romney Flip Flops: #4. Campaign Finance:

In 1994, Romney advocated a spending limit on congressional elections and abolition of political action committees. In 2002, he supported public financing of campaigns from a 10 percent tax on private fund-raising. In 2008, he attacked the McCain-Feingold law limiting campaign contributions as an attack on free speech.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: GovWatch on 2008 campaign: “Top Ten Flip-Flops”

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Feb 2, 2008
Shine light on federal contracts, earmarks, & proposed bills

THE PROBLEM OBAMA’S PLAN
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Campaign booklet, “Blueprint for Change”, p. 3-5

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Feb 2, 2008
Ended corporate jet travel subsidized by lobbyists

THE PROBLEMOBAMA’S PLANOBAMA’S RECORD
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Campaign booklet, “Blueprint for Change”, p. 3-5

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jan 21, 2008
Never took money from federal lobbyists or their companies

I don’t take PAC money. I don’t take money from federal lobbyists. I’m not taking money from their companies. It is true that there are employees of all sorts of companies that have given to my campaign because, frankly, I’ve raised a lot of money, and sometimes in $25, $50, $100 donations. But that does mean that I’ve gotten a bunch of money from drug lobbyists. It’s important to make that distinction. With respect to universal coverage, understand what this debate is about. This is a legitimate policy debate. I respect the positions that Edwards and Clinton have taken. They have decided that we should mandate coverage for all adults. I believe that the problem--and understand what that means. A mandate means that, in some fashion, everybody will be forced to buy health insurance. Edwards has been honest that that may mean taking money out of people’s paychecks in order to make sure that they’re covered. Clinton has not been clear about how that mandate would be enforced.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jan 15, 2008
No lobbyist money; no PAC money; fund campaigns instead

I don’t take money from federal lobbyists. I don’t take money from PACs. In reducing special interest lobbying, I alone of the candidates here have actually taken away the power of lobbyists. A law I passed this year says to lobbyists, if you are taking money from anybody and putting it together and then giving it to a member of Congress, that has to be disclosed. Ultimately what I’d like to see is a system of public financing of campaigns, and I’m a cosponsor of the proposal.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas

Hillary Clinton on Government Reform : Sep 23, 2007
Public financing would fix campaign donor problems

Q: Norman Hsu was a big fund-raiser for you, and now has come under federal investigation. Is this changing the way Washington does business?

A: Well, I’m very much in favor of public financing, which is the only way to really change a lot of the problems that we have in our campaign finance system. You know, as soon as my campaign found out that he was a fugitive from justice, we did return any contribution that we could in any way link to him.

Q: Back in the 1996 campaign, Johnny Chung plead guilty to illegally funding of money, under very similar circumstances. How do you convince the American people that you have changed?

A: Well, this is a problem for every campaign. I have more than 100,000 donors, the vast majority of whom have given me less than $100. We’re spending an enormous amount of time and effort raising money, mostly to be clear to go on television. It is not good for our political system. There has to be a way that public financing becomes the law.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Sep 13, 2007
Ok to take $5 donations from drug company employees

Q: Do you accept campaign contributions from insurance executives?

A: I don’t accept money from federal registered lobbyists and from federal PACs. Now, I’m sure that we’ve received money from people who work at insurance companies or work at drug companies, because we’re getting contributions of $5, $10, $100 from all sorts of people. We don’t want to finance our campaign by people whose professional job it is to influence legislation in Washington. The drug companies, the insurance companies spent a billion dollars over the last 10 years blocking reform. That’s how we ended up with a prescription drug bill that is better for drug companies than it is for our seniors. So it is an imperfect system. Money is the original sin of politics, & when you’re running for president, you’re going to do some sinning when it comes to raising money because otherwise you can’t compete. But it’s less important what your health-care plan is, than are you able to overcome the special-interest-driven agendas?

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Aug 14, 2007
1998: First law passed, 52-4, stripping legislator perks

Legislatively, Obama managed to pass a decent number of laws for a first-term lawmaker in the minority party. His first major legislative accomplishment was shepherding a piece of campaign finance reform in May 1998. The measure prohibited lawmakers from soliciting campaign funds while on state property and from accepting gifts from state contractors, lobbyists or other interests.

The senate’s Democratic leader offered Obama the opportunity to push through the bill because it seemed like a good fit fo the do-good persona projected by Obama. It was a tough assignment for a new lawmaker, since he was essentially sponsoring legislation that would strip away long-held privileges and perks from his colleagues. One colleague angrily denounced the bill, saying that it impinged on lawmakers’ inherent rights. But Obama worked the issue by an overwhelming 52-4 vote.

The bill lifted Illinois, a state with a deep history of illicit, pay-to-play politics, into the modern world when it came to restrictions.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.123-124

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Aug 8, 2007
No “bundled” money from federal-registered lobbyists

Q: You have taken a firm stand against accepting money from lobbyists, yet you allow them to raise money for you and “bundle” it. What’s the difference between those things?

A: No, no, I do not have federal-registered lobbyists bundling for me, just like I don’t take PAC money. People need to know who we are going to fight for. The reason I’m in public life, the reason that I am running for president is because of you, not because of folks who are writing big checks.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jul 23, 2007
Doesn’t take PAC money or federal lobbyists’ money

Q: [to Kucinich] What do you have that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama do not have?

KUCINICH: The new doctrine that I’m going to promote throughout this campaign is that we’ll use the science of human relations and diplomacy to settle your differences without committing the young men and women to war, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

CLINTON: The issue is: Which of us is ready to lead on day one? I have 35 years of being an instrument and agent of change.

OBAMA: I don’t think this is just a Republican problem. I think this is a problem that spans the parties. And we don’t just need a change in political parties in Washington. We’ve got to have a change in attitudes of those who are representing the people. And part of the reason I don’t take PAC money, I don’t take federal lobbyists’ money is because we’ve got to get the national interests up front as opposed to the special interests. And that is something that I’ve got a track record doing.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jul 23, 2007
People know his “bundlers” because he pushed disclosure law

OBAMA: [to Gravel]: We don’t just need a change in political parties in Washington. We’ve got to have a change in attitudes of those who are representing the people. And part of the reason I don’t take PAC money, I don’t take federal lobbyists’ money is because we’ve got to get the national interests up front as opposed to the special interests.

GRAVEL: Barack Obama says he doesn’t take money from lobbyists. Well, he has 134 bundlers. Now, what does he think that is? And, besides that, he has received $195,000 from the head of a foreign-owned bank who has lobbyists in Washington.

OBAMA: Well, the fact is I don’t take PAC money and I don’t take lobbyists’ money. And the bundlers--the reason you know who is raising money for me, Mike, is because I have pushed through a law this past session to disclose that. And that’s the kind of leadership that I’ve shown in the Senate. And that’s the kind of leadership that I’ll show as president of the United States.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Jul 23, 2007
FactCheck: no lobbyist money; yes from bundlers who lobby

A testy exchange between Gravel and Obama requires some clarification. Gravel claimed, “Barack Obama said he doesn’t take money from lobbyists [but] he has 134 bundlers. Now, what does he think that is?”

Gravel and Obama weren’t actually contradicting each other. However, Obama’s policy is an ethical tightrope. Obama’s official policy is: “The Obama campaign does not accept donations or fundraising help from federal lobbyists or PACs.” Obama, however, is sticking to a strict interpretation of his ban on lobbyist contributions.

[The largest bundler was] Robert Wolf, COO of the Switzerland-based UBS Investment Bank, who raised money for Obama to the tune of $194,930. Those contributions don’t violate the letter of Obama’s pledge, even though UBS, like most large corporations, has lobbyists in Washington. Obama voluntarily listed Wolf, along with 254 other “bundlers” (influential types who agree to encourage and collect individual contributions) on his Web site.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: FactCheck on 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Apr 26, 2007
FactCheck: no lobbyist money, yes from lobbyist spouses

Obama said, “I have not taken money from federal registered lobbyists. We’re not taking money from PACs.” It’s true that Obama hasn’t accepted any money from political action committees. And a campaign spokesman said that the campaign has returned $50,566 from 49 donors whom it had identified as lobbyists.

Nevertheless, Obama accepts money from lobbyists’ spouses and other family members, their partners at the law firms where they work if the partners aren’t registered to lobby, senior executives at companies that hire lobbyists, and state-level lobbyists. Among his top fundraisers are at least a few who were registered lobbyists as recently as last year. The campaign says it is making a “best effort” to stay away from tainted money. “It isn’t a perfect solution to the problem and it isn’t even a perfect symbol,” a spokesman said.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: FactCheck on 2007 South Carolina Democratic debate

Barack Obama on Government Reform : Nov 17, 2006
Hopefund PAC pushes government to honor sacred commitments

At [Obama’s PAC] Hopefund, our hope says that government alone cannot teach our kids to learn--but that government must honor its sacred commitment to provide the best schools.“Hope,” as we understand it, does not mean government solving our problems. It means government changing its priorities just enough to give every child a decent shot at life and keep the doors of opportunity open for all.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: PAC website, HopeFundAmerica.com, “About Barack”

Newt Gingrich on Government Reform : Oct 1, 2005
CFR protects incumbents by limiting free speech

Our democracy is threatened by too much power among incumbent representatives and senators and not enough power with the voters. So-called campaign finance reform is a case in point.

Supporters of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law say that it's meant to make our elections fairer by leveling the playing field for average Americans. But in fact, it's had the effect of silencing average voters by limiting their freedom of speech.

The First Amendment to the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech." It does not say Congress can abridge speech it doesn't like. The First Amendment was designed to protect political speech. No law, no matter how laudable its objectives, should limit the right of Americans to complain about, compliment, or otherwise comment on those to whom "we the people" have loaned power.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Winning the Future, by Newt Gingrich, p. xv-xvi

Newt Gingrich on Government Reform : Oct 1, 2005
Election process has become incumbency protection racket

The election process has devolved into an incumbency protection racket in which lobbyists attend PAC fundraisers to raise money for incumbents so they can drown potential opponents, thus creating war chests which convince potential candidates not to run and freeing up the incumbents to spend more time at Washington PAC fundraisers. Campaign finance laws like McCain-Feingold create ridiculously low contribution limits which require more and more time be spent raising money in small amounts to maintain the war chests.

The very wealthy simply go through a loophole in the new campaign law and create irresponsible 527 organizations.

Faced with incumbency protection, lobbyist friends, and huge war chests, House and Senate members find it impossible to say no and simply keep bloating the federal government into an engine of spending which attracts even more money into lobbying and interest group activities and makes the system even more vulnerable to corruption.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Winning the Future, by Newt Gingrich, p.200-201

Brian Schweitzer on Government Reform : Nov 1, 2004
Refuses special interest & PAC money for his campaign

Special interests have had far too much influence in Montana for far too long. I will not accept one cent of PAC or special interest money. I support full campaign finance disclosure and tougher ethics laws for lobbyists. To learn more about my proposed ethics reforms, please visit www.brianschweitzer.com. As Governor, I will work to enact policies that benefit the people of Montana, not special interests.
Click for Brian Schweitzer on other issues.   Source: 2004 Montana Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test

Hillary Clinton on Government Reform : Feb 25, 2004
HILLPAC raised $31M through 2002

Hillary controls her namesake HILLPAC, a phenomenally successful ‘leadership’ political action committee engorged with her Whitehaven funds, a type of PAC usually associated with senior leadership figures like Tom Daschle and Tom Delay.

During the 2002 election cycle, Hillary was among the Senate’s top donors, disbursing more than $1 million to candidates and to party committees.

Hillary raises almost half of her funds from outside the state, with trial lawyers and law firms as her top categories. She endearingly bestows the title ‘Hill Raisers’ on those who collect large sums for her. Lesser mortals can log onto the Hillary website and become ‘Hill’s Angels’

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrell, p. 23-24

Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform : Oct 14, 2003
Free air time for all candidates, to level the playing field

Washington has returned to the culture of influence-peddling. The Bush White House has raised more money in large, 6-figure donations than any other administration in history.

On the federal level, we must pass the next generation of campaign finance reforms. For example, we need to defend and expand our campaign finance laws to provide free air time to candidates and level the playing field for democracy. We also must eliminate the loophole in McCain-Feingold that allows people to give unlimited sums anonymously to shadow organizations that run ads for or against candidates.

Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 78

Joe Biden on Government Reform : Feb 11, 2003
Campaign reform in 1980s made more problems than it solved

By 1989, it was clear that the ethics was had reached a new level of intensity. Each side was using high-powered legal weapons to stalk the other. The weapons were of recent vintage--the product of the historic government reform effort that came after the Watergate scandal. "We were going to reform the system," said Joseph Biden, referring to his generation's arrival in Congress. "But we created more problems than we solved. The campaign finance laws, the Independent Counsel statute--nothing turned out the way it was supposed to."

Biden might have added: the Ethics in Government Act of 1978; the reforms of the presidential-primary selection process and of the seniority system in Congress; the limitations on presidential war and budgetary powers; the "whistle-blower" reforms that enabled disgruntled government employees everywhere to bring anonymous complaints against their bosses.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: The Natural, by Joe Klein, p. 93-94

Mike Huckabee on Government Reform : Nov 1, 2002
Limit campaign contributions, but no public funding

Q: Do you support limiting individual contributions to state candidates?

A: Yes

Q: For PAC contributions?

A: Yes.

Q: For Corporate contributions?

A: Yes.

Q: For Political Parties?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2002 AR Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test

Gary Johnson on Government Reform : Jan 1, 2001
Full disclosure, but no limits on campaign donations

Q: What's your view about campaign finance reform?

A: If you're talking about reform where you want to do away with soft money, yeah, I think that's good. If RJR wants to give me $100,000 for my campaign, it can't. But it can give it to the Republican Party and then the Republican Party will write a check to me. It's not directly from the cigarette manufacturer and all I have to say is that I got it from the party. So I think that should be reformed. The public should know exactly where every penny comes from. But I don't think there should be limits on contributions.

Q: But big contributions mean the wealthy have much more political influence.

A: My biggest contributor during the last two campaigns gave me over $150,000. Not once since I've been elected has he been on the phone to tell me anything about what I should do. Is that not better than 150 people giving me a limit of $1000? Of those 150, there's a good chance that 50 are going to be on the phone trying to tell me what to do.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: David Sheff interview in Playboy Magazine

Lindsey Graham on Government Reform : Nov 1, 2000
Increase campaign contribution limits; but no foreigners

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Congressional 2000 National Political Awareness Test

Jesse Ventura on Government Reform : Jul 2, 2000
Ban PAC funding; limit soft money; limit free air time

We need to talk about making PAC contributions illegal. Candidates pay attention to whoever coughs up the cash. If the only sources of funding they have are the people, then candidates will have no choice but to listen to us.

We also need to fix the loopholes in the campaign funding system. There’s already a cap on donations to an individual candidate, but no limit to the amount you can donate to a party. This so-called soft money is then funneled to individual candidates in the form of “issue ads.” We ought to cap the amount that each candidate is allowed to spend on a given campaign.

Some people have tossed around the idea of providing all candidates with equal chunks of free air time, free print space, and free Internet access, which they could use to state their positions, hold debates, and conduct question-and-answer sessions. We just have to be careful with the term FREE. In some circumstances, FREE may not mean what it appears to. Who exactly will pay for the free air time?

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p. 37-38

Newt Gingrich on Government Reform : Nov 1, 1998
Increase federal limits on individual campaign contributions

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Congressional 1998 National Political Awareness Test

Jeb Bush on Government Reform : Nov 1, 1998
No campaign spending limits; no public financing

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?

A: No.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: 1998 Florida Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test

Rick Santorum on Government Reform : Oct 1, 1997
Campaign finance should be purely voluntary

The general philosophy of those of us who oppose the McCain-Feingold approach is that we believe that we can fix the campaign finance system in this country by making it purely voluntary, so that no one is going to be forced to contribute to an election. That is something that you would think is as fundamental as any right that we have in this country, that you should not be forced by your employer, by your union, by your association, or by your family to contribute to anyone the resources that you have worked hard to earn. So, one general tenet is that contributing to campaigns must be completely voluntary. I think this is a tenet you would suspect would be universally shared. It is not universally shared. People in support of McCain-Feingold, by and large--there are some exceptions, but few--do not support the concept that campaign contributions should be voluntary.
Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p.110

  • Additional quotations related to Campaign Finance issues can be found under Government Reform.
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Candidates on Government Reform:
Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
Secy.John Kerry
Secy.Chuck Hagel

 Related issues:
Federal Reserve
Supreme Court
Tort Reform

2016 Presidential contenders:
Amb.John Bolton(R-MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(R-FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(T-MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(R-NJ)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(D-NY)
Sen.Ted Cruz(T-TX)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(D-NY)
CEO Carly Fiorina(R-CA)
Rep.Peter King(R-NY)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(D-MD)
Sen.Rand Paul(R-KY)
Sen.Marco Rubio(R-FL)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(I-VT)
Gov.Brian Schweitzer(D-MT)
Gov.Scott Walker(R-WI)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(D-MA)
Sen.James Webb(D-VA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
2012 Presidential:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(T-MN)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(D-IL)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(R-GA)
Gov.Nikk Haley(R-SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(R-AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(R-UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(R-LA)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Gov.Sarah Palin(R-AK)
Gov.Deval Patrick(D-MA)
Rep.Ron Paul(R-TX)
Gov.Rick Perry(R-TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(R-OH)
Gov.Mitt Romney(R-MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(R-WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(R-PA)
Donald Trump(I-NY)
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Page last updated: Jul 11, 2015