A question from Kyle Thompson of Charlottesville, VA:
I know this isn't the specific topic, but I wanted to ask about campaign reform. I have done some homework and know Mrs. Granger is on the committee to oversee campaign finance reform and Mr. Johnson is a sponsor of the Freshmen bill. I wanted to ask both of you what you think the chances of some reform passing this year are?
Rep. Granger responds:
Thanks for your question. I think
the chances of campaign finance reform passing this year are slim, since
there is little time before Congress adjourns until January and because the
House Oversight Committee still needs to hold hearings on the many
different proposals that are out there. I think there is a chance for
passing campaign finance reform next year. However, given all of the
competing proposals and the different views for reform that Republicans and
Democrats have, it will be difficult to reach a consensus.
Rep. Johnson responds:
As you mentioned, I support a bipartisan bill written by many of the
freshman members of Congress to begin the reform of the way we pay for
political campaigns. The bill would ban soft money (these are
six-figure contributions to political parties that are not subject to
federal regulations), require anonymous third-party groups who run
"issue" ads to disclose their identity, and greatly enhance the
publishing of contributors for all the public to see.
This approach may not solve every problem in campaign finance, but we
intentionally went after the most outrageous, correctable aspects of our
system -- the problems that both sides could agree on.
I am hopeful that Congress will pass a bill at least this tough sometime
this year. I think the momentum is building. The truth is that there
is heavy pressure (on both sides of the political aisle) to do nothing,
to maintain the status quo. I don't think we can afford do that. With
every negative ad from a faceless outside group... with every
multi-million campaign... with every scandal in the headlines... we are
turning the American people away from the political process and making
them feel disconnected from their government.
I urge you to turn up the pressure on your lawmakers to pass meaningful
campaign finance reform this year. Many Members of Congress will try to
divert the issues onto smaller concerns like labor union dues
(Republican issue) or public financing (Democratic issue). But, I think
there are enough large issues we can all agree to that would begin to
fix a broken system. Let's not miss the opportunity this year.