Campaign Finance Reform

October 8, 1999

Washington is awash in talk of campaign finance reform, and at least two presidential campaigns have made this a central theme. So why all the talk about campaign finance reform?

To answer that question, a little history is in order. After Watergate, lawmakers decided to limit individual campaign contributions, but this increased the influence of political action committees. Reformers therefore want to close what they perceive as loopholes. They would do such things as ban soft money and prevent TV and radio shows from talking with candidates about issues sixty days before an election.

I believe these attempts at campaign finance reform would limit free speech and impose even more regulations. We may not like the amount of money spent on campaigns, but every attempt to limit campaign spending ends up limiting free speech and creating more problems than it solves.

George Will has begun asking candidate Bill Bradley a series of questions. If campaign finance reform "is supposed to prevent corruption" how often in your 18 years in the Senate were you corrupted? "Can you name, say, two of the 535 members of the national legislature who have been corrupted? One?" He asked these questions of him on "This Week with Sam and Cokie" and asked them again in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine.

Candidate Bradley hasn't answered the questions. And neither have other reformers answered them. If campaign money corrupts, then give us the names of those corrupted. Senator Robert Byrd? Senator Ted Kennedy? Representative Dick Armey? Who? Who is being corrupted by campaign money?

The silence of the campaign finance reformers says a lot. And I think the American people deserve a list of names before Congress embarks on another attempt at campaign finance reform. After all, if we need reform, then lets get some specific examples of abuse that demonstrate the need for reform.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.