Campaign Finance Reform
Americans have less and less faith in their government. One of the main reasons is that they are distrustful of the system we have in place to elect our political leaders. People look at the huge amounts of money in the system that both political parties raise to elect their candidates and they ask: "Where does such a system leave the average citizen with his or her $100 contribution?"
Senator Thompson too has the simple belief that there is too much money in the system. He believes that an excellent witness on this topic is Barry Goldwater. In testifying before Congress in 1983, he said that big money "eats at the heart of the democratic process. It feeds the growth of special interests groups created solely to channel money into political campaigns. It creates the impression that every candidate is bought and owned by the biggest givers. And it causes elected officials to devote more time to raising money than their political duties. If present trends continue, voter participation will drop significantly, public respect will fall to an all time low, political campaigns will be controlled by slick packaging artists, and neglect of public duties by absentee officials will undermine government operations." His predictions were accurate and his concerns are still valid today.
Senator Thompson witnessed first hand the corruption in our campaign finance system during the Governmental Affairs Committee's special investigation into alleged improper or illegal activities growing out of the 1996 federal campaigns. The Committee exposed a campaign finance system rife with abuse and open to foreign influence, and produced a 9,600-page report that led to several indictments and a number of on-going criminal investigations.
Senator Thompson has been a supporter of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance legislation. That bill would ban the unlimited amounts of soft money that currently flow into the coffers of the national parties and helped create the numerous scandals and violations we saw in the 1996 presidential campaign. Senator Thompson believes that by banning soft money contributions and fully disclosing the source of donations to political campaigns the American people will be able to have more confidence that the decisions made by their leaders
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