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 Introducing Exemptions to Advertising Restrictions for Civil Rights Groups. (2002 house Roll Call 25)
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HR 2356. Campaign Finance Reform/Vote Intended to Complicate Passage of Reform By Introducing Exemptions to Advertising Restrictions for Civil Rights Groups.
house Roll Call 25     Feb 13, 2002
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

One of the largest loopholes in existing campaign finance law was the so-called "soft money" exemption: a category of donations to political parties that had no restriction on size. Parties were supposed to use the money for "party building," but they had found ways to support individual candidates with the money while staying within the letter of the law. As a result, corporations and wealthy individuals had long used the loophole to influence politics. The Shays-Meehan reform bill banned soft money and made some restrictions on advertising, but to pass it needed to avoid unfriendly amendments designed either to fracture the majority in favor of the bill or to complicate passage in the Senate. Those who proposed these "poison pill" amendments did not necessarily support their substance: they suggested the amendments only as a means to sink the larger bill. This was one of those amendments: proposed by Watts (R-OK), it would have exempted advocacy on civil rights issues from the advertising restrictions in the bill. Progressives supported advocacy on civil rights, but they knew this move was designed to derail reform, so they opposed the amendment. Their "no" votes helped reject the amendment, 185-237.

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