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Campaign Finance Reform No. 268A

Amended 2003
Reaffirmed 2004
Amended 2005
Amended 2006
Reaffirmed 2007

Americans for Democratic Action has a long-standing commitment to fundamental campaign finance reform. We have called for public financing for all congressional candidates who qualify as candidates under state laws and urged Congress and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to strengthen campaign financing laws and regulations relating to presidential elections.

ADA has long considered that reasonable regulation of campaign contributions and expenditures remains consistent with our venerable free speech tradition and that loopholes in campaign finance law allowing unlimited individual and independent campaign spending ought to be closed.

At present, the escalating cost of electoral campaigns deters qualified candidates from seeking election. Fundraising undermines public confidence in the integrity of campaigns, distorts the political process, weakens political parties, and diverts attention from important public policy questions. In view of massive public discontent and distrust - reflected in declining voter turnout and in public opinion polls - it is urgent that we fight vigorously for public financing at both the federal and state levels.

A large part of the present problem is the FEC, initially established to oversee campaign financing and propose legislative reform where necessary. Rather than serving as an independent body with the public's interest at heart, the Commission is composed of party loyalists committed to the status quo. FEC decisions have opened windows to unregulated campaigning and soft money in violation of the spirit of campaign finance reform law. As a specific instance, it has formulated regulations that undermine and create loopholes in the ban on soft money that was enacted as part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform (McCain-Feingold) Act of 2002.

In order to create a more open and equitable elections process, ADA:

  1. 1. Calls on Congress to enact legislation providing for public financing of congressional election campaigns, funded from general revenues. This legislation should ensure fairness, accountability and full disclosure and reduce the costs of campaigns.
  2. Emphasizes its continued support for the strengthening of public financing for Presidential election campaigns, and opposes any measures to repeal this statute.
  3. Calls on state legislatures and local governments to provide public financing for their candidates, as has been implemented in numerous states using the clean-money model.

To further strengthen the role of the FEC, ADA:

  1. Calls on the President and Congress to appoint individuals to the FEC who display a commitment to enforce the law and uphold public interests in campaign finance regulations.
  2. Calls on the President and Congress to substantially increase the FEC budget in order to enforce existing laws by updating its record-keeping systems and improve its ability to disseminate information.
  3. Calls on the Commission to insist that candidates make funding information available in a more timely and useful format.

 

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No. 268A
Political and Governmental Commission

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