Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 17, 1974, Page 7

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette July 17, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 17, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Matching funds idea pushed House campaign bill deficient The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wed., July 17, 1974    7a By Hoi Sondi ol (1 he writer is an executive committee member of Common Cause in Iowa and a teacher in the Cedar Rapids public schools.) TWI' ELECTION sandals troubling . * the nation largely flow from the corrosive effects of campaign contributions from penal interests who expect something in return. Now, bi fore the August recess, members of (he house of representatives have the opportunity to pass a crucial bill for campaign finance reform. After months of delay, a bill drafted by the house administration committee, under Chairman Wayne Hays (D-Ohio), has reac hod the house floor The moment of truth for campaign finance reform in the 93rd congress has arrived. In April the senate passed a strong and comprehensive campaign finance reform bill (S. 37?). This bill Includes a mixed system of private and public financing for congressional and presidential elections as well as an independent elections commission to enforce the law The house committee’s bill is a grossly inadequate response to the money-in-politics .scandals that have been the underpinning of the Watergate story. The loophole-ridden proposa1 virtually ignores the growing public demand for true reform of American political campaign financing. Iowa's Senator Dick Clark called the house bill a “totally inadequate response to the need for thorough political reform .’’ Campaign finance affects the very nature of our democratic form of government. “Elections are the prime constraint upon power in a democracy,’’ wrote John Gardner, chairman of Common Cause. “Through elections, citizens held their representatives to account. But if the winning candidate feels primarily accountable to the big campaign donors, public accountability is destroyed.” In testimony before the senate rules committer, Gardner sa.d that (he root ev:!s of campaign financing could never be eliminated until candidates arc assured of adequate funds to run a credible and competitive campaign without having to rely on big-money contributors. In a comprehensive report on the financing of the 1972 elections, Common Cause showed that incumbents averaged a 2 to I financial advantage over their opponents. Two dollars out of every $3 given by special interest groups to 1972 congressional candidates went to incumbents. These issues of political corruption will loom large in the upcoming national elections. The question will be: Which of our elected representatives moved forcefully to enact essential campaign financing reform legislation. But most of the needed reforms have been lost in the bill reported out of the Hays committee earlier this month. The Hays committee bill could drastically set back congressional campaign finance reforms for years to come. If enacted, the bill would give the impression that congress has reformed the campaign process, but in fact it would create a shield behind which congressional candidates — especially incumbents — would hide malodorous campaign financing practices. True campaign reform would have to wait for years and for another major scandal, pernaps of W atergate magnitude. The bill contains several glaring defects: It places members of congress firmly in control of campaign finance law enforcement. It makes no provision for any matching funding of congressional or presidential primary election costs to remove the taint of special interest money from campaigns. It provides public funds only for presidential general elections. This means the administration committee is willing to clean up presidential election races but not contests for the house and senate or presidential primaries. Thus the Hays committee bill reported to the house is an enforcement hoax The bill establishes a seven member board of supervisory officer composed of congressional employes and members of congress themselves — the very people the board would be policing. Common Cause advocates an independent enforcement agency to receive campaign finance disclosure reports and enforce the spending laws through its power to go directly to court. The present bill virtually guarantees that nonenforcement by the justice department will continue as it has for fit) years Strong enforcement of campaign financing laws is critical. The experience during the 1972 elections under the 1971 federal election campaign act showed almost total nonenforcement. Someone has to pay for political campaigns. They’re expensive and getting more so The cost of materials, postage, media time and office rent has soared in our inflated economy. But where will candidates get campaign money? Common Cause believes a matching system of private and public financing of elections is the most direct remedy for campaign financing ills Here s how a matching system involving the use of some public funds can work: Matching funds would be* available for Don Hesse He started out as a social drinker and . . . ’ Opinion Page 2 Ideas Judgments Views Insights Comments wmm congressional candidates who could shew (hey have a reasonable amount of public support — say $7,500 — in small contributions from private citizens. No contribution could be more than HOO Once the candidate did this, he would be eligible to receive equal amounts of federal money to match all future private contributions of SKH) or less Public funds would match private contributions up to an overall limit. For example, a campaign expenditure limit of $90,000 would mean that no candidate could get more than $45,000 in matching funds. Unlimited public funds would not be available for candidates. In an attempt to strengthen the Hays committee bill, representatives Anderson, Udall and Foley will offer a compromise measure which would allow a candidate public funds equal to no more than one-third of the overall spending limit that he must observe. This compromise will be offered during house floor action on campaign law reform this month A Gallup Poll in September, 1973, revealed that 65 percent of the population supports a system to have some public funds used to help finance federal candidates. These views stem from the Watergate revelations, and also from the fact that when 90 percent of campaign contributions come from only I percent of the people, as is now the case, too much influence is clearly in too few hands. Is it not preferable for taxpayers to share the costs of our election process, rather than to leave politics in the hands of the social interests who “buy a politician” through campaign contributions9 A system of matching funds would cost each taxpayer less than $2 per year W hat the big donor hands over in campaign gifts, he gets back many times over in disproportionate influence in the governmental decisions. And it s the taxpayer’s pocketbook which suffer* in the end. The real opposition in congress stems Way with words Pretentious By Theodore M. Bernstein AN archaism that many lawyers seem to favor is the use of instant as in the phrase “in the instant case,” meaning (he case under litigation That usage relates to another that is popular with lawyers: “Your letter of the 14th instant received,” meaning the 14th day of the current month Why, one wonders, don’t they come over to present-day. clearer usage and say, “in the present case" and "your letter of July 14?” • It s me When a columnist recently apologized for having written, "That picture is me" a professor of English wrote a letter indicating that maybe' me wasn’t wrong after all He wrote: “With I and me two separate aspects of personality seem to he involved: one, the I of individuality (you as a person) and two, the me (you as un object distinct from your personality.)’’ The distinction he was making is a subtle one — indeed, too subtle for a from self interest — the fear of many membe rs of the house of representatives that a matching system of public financing will produce more election competition. They appear afraid to reform the campaign financing laws because if they do they will lose their access to barrels of campaign money from special interests that have served them so bountifully in the past. They will have to seek thousands of small contributions from average citizens. And they will face stronger opposition because all candidates will have adequate funding through matching funds provided by the reform legislation. It is vitally important that congressional leaders speak out now against the loopholes in the Hays committee bill in the house. Campaign financing reform legislation is the most important issue to come before the house to date this year It is imperative that congressmen act on this legislation now and not drag their feet any longer. Campaign reform legislation also should not be pushed aside by possible impeachment proceedings. Among Iowa’s congressmen, Reps. H. R Gross and William Scherle have not yet indicated their support for meaningful campaign finance reforms. Reps. John C. Culver, Wiley Wayne, Edward Mezvinsky and Neal Smith have supported the Anderson-Udall reform bill (a strong counterpart to the senate bill) or indicated their support for campaign finance reform legislation. Cc'dar Rapids area members of Common Cause urge citizens to join the nationwide drive to get the congress to pass a strong campaign financing law this summer. The time is now for the house to cle'an up its own house. Citizen action can make a difference. Specifically, our congressmen should be urged to beef up the Hays committee* bill in the three areas in which it is very weak: (I) providing for a strong enforcement arm under an independent Federal Election Commission; (2) making sure campaign spending limits are set high enough so that rivals will have a fair chance to unseat incumbents and (3) providing matching or some percentage of public funds for congressional as well as presidential races. Whether the nation gets a cle'an elee-process, free* of the corrosive influence of special interc*st money, will be* decided this month in Washington. - MNM!! $81' * iiI ^ SHK,«Dpi •. speaker to decide on the spur of the moment. According to strict grammatical rules, the pronoun following a copulative, or linking, verb such as is should be in the nominative case “That picture is I.” But, as Fowler says in “Modern English Usage", “The use' of me in colloquialisms such as ’It’s me’ and ‘ll wasn’t me’ is perhaps the only sue* eessful attack made by me on I ’’ The Evanses in “A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage" go even further and say, “In natural, well bred English, me and not I is the form of the pronoun use»d after any verb, even the verb to be ” That statement may go too far, but there can be no doubt that in widespread usage “Ifs me" is common even among educated people “Ifs /’’ is beginning to sound prissy anil affected these days. • Word oddities Everybody knows that an Indian giver is one who gives something and then asks to have it returned But apparently no one except the editors of Webster’s New World Dictionary knows the origin of the phrase According to them, it derives from the belief that American Indians expected an equivalent in return when giving something. 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  • Dick Clark
  • Don Hesse
  • Edward Mezvinsky
  • Hoi Sondi
  • John C. Culver
  • John Gardner
  • Neal Smith
  • Scott Bath Tissue
  • Theodore M. Bernstein
  • Wayne Hays
  • Wiley Wayne
  • William Scherle

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: July 17, 1974

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