Reps. Pappas and Tauscher
July 23, 1997
in this forum:
How are the fund-raising hearings playing in your district? How has the Republican coup impacted the Members? What is the rationale behind the tax proposal? Shouldn't Congress simply ban soft money? Why does the tax cut bill eliminate the tuition waiver? Why hasn't the Justice Department charged anyone for fund-raising crimes?
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A question from Carla Phelps of Walnut Creek, CA:
What is your impression of how the campaign finance issue is playing around the country? I worry that the hearings are only increasing voter apathy and cynicism rather than creating a ground swell of support for proposals like Congresswoman Tauscher's proposal. Please let me know what you are hearing.
Rep. Tauscher responds:
I believe most Americans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the role money plays in politics. The Senate hearings may create more apathy and cynicism, but I feel that Congress has the right and responsibility to investigate these matters in a fair and impartial manner. For the most part, I have been impressed with the way that Chairman Thompson has conducted these hearings. Our electoral system is deteriorating as it becomes mired in more and more money, and unfortunately there has been a complete failure by the Congress to correct the glaring problems. That is why I joined the Bipartisan Freshmen Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform and worked hard to introduce a bill that would ban all soft money and require more detailed disclosure requirements for people and groups who donate large amounts of money to the political process. While our freshmen bill admittedly does not try and solve all of the problems facing our electoral system, it does promote an incremental approach that attacks two of the most egregious problems facing our electoral system -- soft money and weak disclosure requirements.
Rep. Pappas responds:
The investigation that is taking place by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, of which I am a member, and the investigation taking place in the Senate, deal with alleged allegations of violations of laws including strong charges that our national security was corrupted. The public wants the truth and I look forward to ascertaining the real facts. The scope of this investigation will go wherever the evidence leads in terms of widely publicized allegations. Many of the allegations that have come out deal with violations of existing laws. I believe that before we begin reforming the system itself we must ensure that all candidates for federal office follow the current laws.
My sense is that people want full disclosure and a review of why existing laws are not enforced before complicated laws are made more confusing.