Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998

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Author: William J. Clinton  | Date: February 20, 1998

Letter to Members of the Senate on Campaign Finance Reform Legislation,
February 20, 1998

Dear __________:

Next week, the Senate is scheduled to debate campaign finance legislation. You will have an important opportunity to cast a vote for real reform of our electoral process. Today, I am writing to urge you to support legislation that will make our democracy work better for all Americans.

The campaign finance laws were last rewritten twenty-three years ago. Those laws have served us well, but they have been overwhelmed by a flood of money and the rising cost of campaigns. Politicians have talked about reform for years. Now it is time to act. The McCain-Feingold bill puts an end to the soft money system, expands disclosure requirements, increases penalties for election law violations, and strengthens the rules for so-called independent campaign expenditures. Make no mistake: a vote against McCain-Feingold is a vote for soft money, for unlimited backdoor campaign expenditures, for the status quo.

For these reasons, I have supported and will continue to support the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and I urge the Senate to pass it. I also urge the Senate to reject any attempts to attach an amendment that would make this bill unpalatable to one party or another. Such an attempt is nothing less than an effort to defeat campaign finance reform.

A critical mass has been reached for campaign finance reform. Citizen groups, spurred by business executives and civic leaders, have gathered one million signatures on a petition to Congress calling for reform. Presidents Ford, Carter, and Bush have been joined by dozens of former lawmakers in calling for reform.

Today the responsibility rests in the hands of the Senate. If you want to strengthen our democracy, vote for the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

Sincerely,

Bill Clinton

Note: Identical letters were sent to all Members of the Senate. This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on February 21.

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Chicago: William J. Clinton, "Letter to Members of the Senate on Campaign Finance Reform Legislation, February 20, 1998," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 27, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 34:2540 Original Sources, accessed February 26, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3UN8QNDL34YEFJ9.

MLA: Clinton, William J. "Letter to Members of the Senate on Campaign Finance Reform Legislation, February 20, 1998." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 27, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 34:2540, Original Sources. 26 Feb. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3UN8QNDL34YEFJ9.

Harvard: Clinton, WJ, 'Letter to Members of the Senate on Campaign Finance Reform Legislation, February 20, 1998' in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 27, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 34:2540. Original Sources, retrieved 26 February 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3UN8QNDL34YEFJ9.