Reps. Shimkus and DeGette
February 26, 1997
in this forum:
Should Congress deregulate the local power company? Can we enforce our current campaign laws? What are they hearing in their districts? Are debate and bipartisanship mutually exclusive? How bad is the DNC fundraising scandal? Will the balanced budget amendment work? Viewer Comments...
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A question from Judith L. Tuttle of Grinnell, KS:
I am concerned, after listening to all of the discussion, that we are overlooking the current laws that have been broken and the investigations into that are overshadowed by the talk of reform. Don't we have a responsibility to investigate and enforce the current laws before we make more unenforcable laws?
My other question is: If it is unconstitutional to regulate the contributions of the business world and the unions, then isn't the l,000 dollar per individual also in the same category?
Rep. Diana DeGette responds:
We should abide by and enforce current laws and enact laws that are enforceable.
The constitutionality of regulating campaign contributions is a question regarding freedom of speech. There are statutory limits on how much both individuals and political action committees may contribute to candidates for federal office, which have been upheld as "constitutional" by the Supreme Court.
Rep. John Shimkus responds:
I believe that we have created reform-minded laws which are very enforceable. Each member of Congress is bound by rules and regulations regarding their elections and also regarding our own conduct and that of our staff. I certainly do believe that in order to maintain our current system, each member must be very careful about these laws, rules and regulations, and if any are broken, appropriate measures must be taken. Congress has certainly shown, especially in the last few years, that when a member breaks the rules, swift and appropriate action is taken.