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Comments to FEC Filed Jointly by Brennan Center and Bi-Partisan Representatives Urge Commission to Ban "Soft Money"

Responding to the Federal Election Commission's request for comments, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and four Representatives have advised the FEC that it has an affirmative legal duty to enact regulations that will close the "soft mo

October 6, 1998

For Immediate Release
October 6, 1998

Contact Information:
Ken Weine, 212 998-6736

Comments to FEC Filed Jointly by Brennan Center and Bi-Partisan Representatvies Urge Commission to Ban “Soft Money”

Responding to the Federal Election Commission’s request for comments, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and four Representatives (Republicans Tom Campbell (CA) and Christopher Shays (CT) and Democrats Martin Meehan (MA) and James Moran (VA)) have advised the FEC that it has an affirmative legal duty to enact regulations that will close the “soft money” loophole.

In written comments, the Brennan Center and the Representatives state that the congressional intent behind the Federal Election Campaign Act is clear and unambiguous in four important areas-banning large individual contributions, banning corporate and labor contributions, banning additional fund-raising by presidential candidates who accept public funding, and bringing all contributions that influence a federal election under the federal contribution limits. The only way to effectuate these four clear congressional goals, the comments conclude, is to close the “soft money” loophole.

The comments cite a diverse group of 126 First Amendment scholars who have stated that there is no constitutional impediment to banning “soft money.” Specific methods for closing the “soft money” loophole are offered, such as eliminating national party committee non-federal accounts, prohibiting national party committees from receiving or using “soft money,” requiring state and local party committees to finance their mixed activities entirely with “hard money,” and making all contributions solicited by a federal candidate or officeholder subject to the Federal Election Campaign Act’s prohibitions and limitations.

The FEC will hold a public hearing on whether to close the “soft money” loophole on October 21, 1998, at which Brennan Center Senior Attorney Glenn Moramarco will testify. For further information, or for a copy of the comments to the FEC, contact the Brennan Center.