What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Campaign Finance Reform : HR 2356. Campaign Finance Reform/Vote Intended to Complicate Passage of Reform By Requiring Bill's Adherence to First Amendment to Provide Opponents with Ammunition for a Future Court Challenge. (2002 house Roll Call 22)
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HR 2356. Campaign Finance Reform/Vote Intended to Complicate Passage of Reform By Requiring Bill's Adherence to First Amendment to Provide Opponents with Ammunition for a Future Court Challenge.
house Roll Call 22     Feb 13, 2002
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was part of the battle to pass campaign finance reform. The reform bill was meant to eliminate "soft money": unregulated donations to parties from corporations and wealthy individuals. Soft money was supposed to be used for "party-building" activities, but parties had discovered ways to support individual campaigns while staying within the letter of the law. Though the reform bill was not perfect, Progressives supported it as a meaningful attempt to reduce the influence of money in politics. The bill had been carefully crafted to ensure a majority and to reduce complications in the Senate as much as possible. Opponents of reform knew that a majority supported the bill, so their strategy was to bog it down with unfriendly amendments that would either peel away votes from the majority or make it more difficult to reconcile the House version with the Senate version. This was one of those amendments: it would have stated that no provisions in the bill could violate the First Amendment's protection for free speech. The statement would have provided ammunition for those who wanted to contest parts of the bill in court on First Amendment grounds. Progressives voted "no" on this unfriendly amendment, and it was rejected, 188-237.

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