Reps. Granger and Johnson
July 9, 1997
in this forum:
Shouldn't we reduce the Federal debt? Are the tax cuts big enough to affect the economy? What is the status of the freshmen campaign finance reform proposal? Do you believe the budget will be balanced? Will the finance investigation lead to reform?
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Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Kyle Meehan of Brookline, MA:
It is my understanding that there is a freshmen campaign finance proposal. What is the proposal? Do you support it? Why or why not?
Rep. Granger responds:
Thanks for that question. A bipartisan task force comprised of both Republican and Democratic Members of the freshman class have recently released their recommendations on reforming our system of financing political campaigns. I believe that some of the recommendations put forth should be a part of a comprehensive bill that restores integrity towards America's political process, such as increased disclosure and immediate filing.
Rep. Johnson responds:
Lost in a lot of the partisan finger-pointing in Washington is the fact that a significant group of the newly-elected members of Congress have been working together to help fix the broken system of how we raise and spend money in politics. I've been working with this group -- comprised of Republicans and Democrats -- to write legislation. We have not yet introduced the bill, but I can give you some highlights. Our plan would:
1) eliminate "soft money" in politics. This is the unregulated money collected by the parties from wealthy donors and corporations in large sums. It's hard to track and it's ripe for abuse.
2) index political contribution limits to keep up with inflation. The current restrictions on giving haven't changed since 1974.
3) require outside groups who engage in "issue advocacy" to disclose expenditures of more than $25,000 in a Congressional district. This would demand accountability from those faceless groups who run negative ads against a candidate.
4) tighten reporting and disclosure requirements of contributors.