tv Finance in Political Campaigns CSPAN February 28, 2016 11:00am-12:32pm EST
i bipartisan discuss the history of campaign finance. the talk about court decisions and legislation that have regulated who can inet's campaigns and how much they can give. the debate various proposals for improving the system. this 90 minute discussion was hosted by the national archives. us innk you for hosting this very marvelous building, a building which protects the history of the united states of america. with the association of former members of congress, we appreciate the partnership that we have with the archives. it has resulted in numerous excellent discussions that have served to showcase pragmatic and serious deliberations across the political aisle. we are totally nonpartisan. and we get only hope that come november, this will bring us to a new time -- we used to have it
for a long time, that he needed time where the white house and the congress gets along. before elections can be one, they have to be run and these days, to run an election means one thing, to finance an amusedn -- tonight i was when after the new hampshire cnn was a panelist at asked if he thought john kasich reallyng to be able to give jeb bush a hard time for the establishment vote and he said oh no, john kasich cannot out fund or out raise jeb bush, and of story. that is what we deal with these days because money has become so pervasive in our political system. a great many individuals and organizations are now taking a look at this whole situation.
our group we are joining with, partnership with the archives and former members, is issue one and they have partners tonight in this tremendous important conversation. i thank you for coming because this is really important to the future of our democratic system. let me quote from the website, issue one is a nonprofit organization committed to putting everyday citizens back in control of our democracy by reducing the influence of money over american politics and policy making. one of issue once most important initiatives is the reformer's caucus, a bipartisan group of 120 former members in government working together to bring attention to this issue. i thank you because i love seeing people that are interested in something that could really hurt our system. i have a proud member of the reform -- i am a proud member of the reform.
the panel is part of establishing issue one and being a part of it. inare very knowledgeable -- very knowledgeable and capable hands. help, we recruit an outstanding panel -- ones health, we recruit outstanding panel. democratic senator from louisiana. [applause] senator bill from tennessee, republican. [applause] democrat from indiana who after his service in the house was our country's ambassador to india. policy director at the campaign areas ofter in the
campaign finance, boating rights, political communication and government ethics. [applause] keeping these fine folks together will be the job of our moderator, american historian, comic shook off there, writer for bill clinton -- comic book ,uthor, writer for bill clinton and i want to again, thank you because to have a place like the archives and a program like this with the caliber of these panelists to be able to come and talk to you and discuss the fact that money has taken over our elections and we cannot continue this way, i thank you for coming tonight. [applause] >> thank you very much. i want to thank all of you for coming out on a very cold night.
i want to thank the national archive for hosting this and issue one and the u.s. association of former members of congress. we are very lucky to have such a distinguished panel of former ,embers of congress with those a group whose careers have spanned the pre-and post-buckley and citizens united areas -- arroz -- eras. -- as we try to navigate the complex and changing landscape of campaign finance law. i will have questions for each to be abut we want this conversation, so if you want to jump been at any time, i know members of congress really need that sort of prompting.
we will be taking questions from the audience, later and said the spirit of the subject, the microphones will go to the highest bidder. [laughter] let's begin with meredith. we are marking as we know, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the buckley decision in the supreme court. -- i wonder if you can walk us through buckley. what it decided and why it is an important decision. >> i also want to talk about how we got here because it is important to see how this issue has developed. i could start back at the founding of the country and talk about special interest and factions, but i won't go back that far. through to look at this
the scope of the last century where you had from 1907, the that was van -- ban passed in the roosevelt era. past and the aftermath of world war ii and the steelworkers -- thatthen after that, was passed in the aftermath of watergate, then a series of cases and the one that everybody pays most attention to is the buckley decision and what was very critical about that decision was the differential region -- differentiation in expenditures versus contributions. wayeally bifurcated the those were treated under constitutional law. expenditures, you could not put limits on expenditures for candidates. good have independent expenditures declared somewhat
ridiculously that they were not corrupting. in other words, you could have a small contribution, $2000 or anything over that was corrupting and if you spent $1 million, that was not corrupting. i think that begs reality. the buckley decision also reached many other issues in terms of this notion of what is coordination versus what is independent spending. it also look at some of the areas about how you can get around those spending limits. congregate aggregate -- contribution limits, how much you can give to a party. that decision recognized that if you have the ability to give money to a party and that money would get given to candidates and there were potentially corrupting influences in the exchange. the other kind of notable question here in terms of -- was
the notion that you could not exactly equate money with speech, but the ability to spend this money had free-speech implications, so it was this notable linking of first amendment rights with the expenditure of money. thanally not been -- more 200 years of how this country luxe at the linkage between -- and money. i will move quickly. you have the case of austin versus michigan chamber of commerce. the reason that is important is because they listed the contribution ban and the ban on corporate contributions was upheld in the philosophy on that was and had the ability to distort the process if you allowed corporations to chapter treasury funds.
then you move from austin and you go to the bipartisan knowign reform act which i some folks appeared and i actually lobbied on that bill and that was challenged in the mcconnell case. very notable that the court upheld that and that court has sandra day o'connor on it. what waswide spread of considered constitutional corruption. then we had citizens united, a bill most people don't spit -- pay attention to which allowed super pac's to raise and spend unlimited money. the last court case in which the campaign contribution was thrown out by the courts. the most important things are not only the different -- differentiation between expenditure and contribution, but also the court saying that the only constitutional ground to go in and discuss these kinds
of campaign limits -- are grounds of corruption and the appearance of corruption. that is important because when you got this last court case in the court basically in the majority opinion said unless you have almost a quid pro quo agreement, then you really don't have corruption and just a reminder, in the kennedy decision in the -- in citizens united, mr. kennedy wrote that the buying and selling of influence will not create problems of undermining public confidence in government. whether you believe that or not is up to each of you, individually. >> one of my questions we will get you for all of you is whether you believe that and what defines corruption, but before we get to that, senator brock, you like senator johnson were elected right around the -- youat congress passed
were in office for the watergate and then for the buckley decision and i'm wondering if you can speak to the changes that you witnessed during your tenure. how did it affect you as someone who is running for office on either side of some of those , someone who was trying to get something done in the senate, did you feel that money was playing a greater role during that period? my first race for the senate was in 1970. i don't think we thought much about it to be honest with you. you could take cash, checks.
the idea that money was sufficient to cause a serious i don't think most of us thought much about that until watergate, and then we began to read the story of people going to jail for the 71.g, i guess we said whoa, ok, something is going on. limitshat, when the 74 are imposed, again, it did not have any effect on me. ian number very well -- remember very well, one specific case we had in east tennessee, a businessman up in the hills of east tennessee, he was used to
tapping all of his suppliers and said if you want to do business with me, i want a piece of the business. then he would turn around and -- i went to see politicale he was a -- when i was there, he said he's got this envelope for you and i said jack, i know what is in their and i cannot take it. -- i know what is in there and i cannot take it. he said you know you can trust me, take it. i have these guys with me and we went up and we had driven about a mile and i said about open this thing -- i have to open
this thing and it was a huge stack of bills, not newspaper clippings and i told one of my that we will. and you will go and take this back, because i'm not going to jail for whatever this was. heartbroken because he was doing all his life and all the sudden, we began to see that the change of rules did change some things that worked before then. buckley was a different world, but we were reacting with buckley to this kind of thing -- if thereo see was corruption, that we could stop it and we could stop it by at least dealing with the contribution site if not the expenditure side. that was the hope and it sounded logical at the time. senator johnston, i wonder if
you could speak to the same question. you were there for the same transition and did you see a change? did it become a greater concern to you wonder constituents? >> iran in 1972, which was the first year of the federal election campaign reform act which was the one declared unconstitutional in buckley and it was a very good act that restricted contributions for elections. a restricted the amount you could spend by the size of your state. it really worked well. people don't remember that, but it worked very well. rich people could only spend $40,000 of their own money. in 1976, it was declared unconstitutional. from then on, we ran under
unlimited expenditures. about it, concerned because you can see every year, it got worse. it started off, they did not know how to spend the money, but now they've got these huge combines that know exactly how research, --ion spending up to $100 million. it is absurd. senate has wethe knew it. i was concerned about it and i was a committee chairman who had very bright staff and we said what can we do about this? down on howd up and
we could solve the problem, given buckley, that was before citizens united, and we came to the conclusion that there was not much you could do. was and, which i thought act which i thought was sort of a nothing burger and that was declared unconstitutional. i am absolutely convinced that the only one way to deal with extended bird -- expenditures, contributions and what has corrupted the whole system is to have either a constitutional amendment or a fifth vote on the supreme court. five/fournited was and there are some other things that maybe you can do to marginally help. you need a constitutional amendment, we ought to put it in now. every candidate for president
has endorsed it. i was reading yesterday, bush said he would eliminate the since united. donald trump, every speech, he says he doesn't want your money, he wants your vote and that is most of his appeal and you know hillary and bernie sanders and all of them are for it. we have a constitutional amendment, as every candidate, are you or it or against it? do you want to limit contribution, deal with this issue and do the same thing with members of congress and i think if we did not pass it quickly, i think we could start a movement and a revolution and believe me, bernie sanders talks about a revolution, we need one in this issue, now. we will do some canvassing of the former members on a panel
about how occasional amendments and some other ideas. you indicated there are some other ideas that might be pursued and i like to get to those before we get to questions from the audience. -- your the longest serving member of congress in this group and you no doubt saw and were affected by the changing dynamic in congress that is often both sides of the aisle, the sharp spike in partisanship, this is function the product of what used to be by all accounts a very collegial group of folks. i wonder how big a role you think money has played in that. there are a lot of things that i would think feed into this, but let's focus on the question in hand, and that is the role of campaign money. >> there is no question that over the time that i was there, the leadership has been
encouraging individual members to spend a lot of time dialing for dollars and that helps to determine to some significant degree or committee assignments or whether you advance to chairman and that sort of thing. in the older days, seniority was king, so you did not have to dial -- can you imagine some of these chairmen dialing for dollars? it has led to some of the dysfunction within the congress because so many decisions are being funneled through the leadership rather than allowing different members of authorities -- f and ias changed a lot point is leaving
aside the court decisions, in my opinion, the federal election committee is supposed to be administering some laws and it has been very dysfunctional. it is deadlocked and there is this business of independent expenditures in an area where they could be aggressive and you could cut back a lot of that or make it truly independent and they are not really doing it. the -- as talking talking about the supreme court justices and the constitution, they are not going to necessarily get it right the next time, it seems to be we should at least be trying to administer the laws we have on the books effectively and that is not being done because there is political gridlock and they are not filling their positions and candidates come in thinking that they can file a complaint
it is reallyand the law of a jungle out there as far as elections are concerned. >> looking back at your time in mentioned dialing for dollars and i'm sure you are familiar with this phenomenon. issue one tells us that members are now spending 50% of the day doing this and not doing the people's business. that constantbout pressure to be raising money at how does that affect the rest of your day? >> that is a great question to start on. here we have a republican from the midwest, from tennessee, a democrat from the state of louisiana. a midwesterner, all of us uniting and gathering together to encourage the people of our country to take back our demand thend
government that we deserve as people. let's talk about how this money is impacting the electoral process, the governing process and the recruitment of good candidates to run for congress in the first place. we are doing it in the appropriate place because here in the archives, we have these sacred documents that have found in our country on the basis of the quality for people and opportunity for people. yet this system that has dominated, the big money and the billionaires and the 100 to eight families that have provided half of the money for the campaigns that we are going through right now are determining not only who is going to win, but who will even run or get in the race for senate and house and the presidency. i think this is one of the most fundamental questions that we face in this presidential year. al qaeda is important.
our foreign policy and security is vital. inequality in america an opportunity for more people with jobs in the 21st century. democracy andour who runs and how they represent our country is fundamental to solving all of these other issues. climate change and education and security. in 1989, it ran, knew to take on an incumbent who had been in office for 10 years. million ort about $1 fishd $1 million through fries and hotdog suppers and individual contributions. , we both knew roughly what we had to raise, and then comes buckley and other
decisions. the doors started to open up. ,ndependent expenditures outside groups, things that could add into the contribution level, and you eventually saw numbers spending more and more of their time dialing for they're raising money, not attending the committee assignments, they are not talking to a republican across the aisle to try to figure out how to balance the budget or deal with climate change, they are on their phone at the democratic headquarters or the republican headquarters, raising money. day.hours a who willonly impacts eventually want to run in the democracy, it impacts when you get to washington, how you do with,ob and who you do it
and how you govern and sit in your committees and do the work impactsess, and that it the kind of people that we will see running for president and where they spend their time and who they talk to. i think this is just a critically important issue right i'm delighted to see that there are people in the audience that care about it and we can talk about the the night, some of the solutions. >> you talk a little bit about the definition of corruption as it has evolved over the course of these supreme court decisions and i bookmarked that to come back to it. just to throw it open to the group, is the system corrupt? how do you define corruption? is the supreme court defining
corruption too narrowly with the quid pro quo? is that the only kind of corruption that concerns you or should not only the rest of us judgesr justices and our -- >> there is a difference between individual corrupt -- individual corruption, people taking money into their own pocket for their own purposes and the corruption of the system where people are buying public policy. there is less individual corruption in the congress than there ever has been, and i think people are personally by and large, very on -- honest. scans fort had any years, people are very concerned about this, but people raise money for business before the committees and their computing
because they don't want issues to be raised because there are to have some provision that they are trying to protect and it weakens the ability of the system to improve the way we are governed. corruptionalk about and the appearance of corruption, the form of the word i prefer is corrupting. atis a system in which, and -- would recommend for those who have not read it, a new book out --richard painter who is the who was on the ethics counsel for president bush. he made a very persuasive case on these issues. talking not only about this prudence about corruption and the appearance of corruption, but i think what every american knows and what we are seeing reflected in this and pain,
which is the preferential access is happening, that every day. a big donor gives, they get access and influence. if you are an average american, the chances that you have of having that same kind of differential access our next to nil. every once in a while if you are from the home state, you may get an opportunity to meet with a senator or representative, but this ability to actually be heard and have influence, one of the most corrupting parts of the system is this differential that preferential access and influence. >> i would echo something that my friend tim talked about, i don't think that there are a bunch of members just dialing moneyllars and raising and sticking it in their pockets. that is not the problem. , they start their
day at 8:00, not monday, but usually on tuesday. there may go to a committee assignments, then go to raise money for four or five hours. wednesday, more fundraising and another fundraiser at night and some work, thursday they go home. so much of that time that they should have been doing the people's business, working on the government problems, water inflict, jobs and infrastructure projects, addressing the issues of affordability in higher education, they are not doing those things, instead, they are talking to people that can money -- checks and instead of talking to that pipe fitter or that nurse or that teacher, and hearing about
how they are worried about their job, they are worried about their kids and how many jobs the kids might have their lifetime, that number might be on the phone listening to somebody on wall street talk about derivatives and what they need to do, not legislation that may be coming up later. is that a corrupting influence on the system? is that insidious to our democracy? is that unfair to the rest of the people in america? yes, it is. system not how are our -- how our system is supposed to work. respect for my colleagues appear. i really don't like the word fare. -- fair. i'm worried about what is happening to our country, where
people are. i want you to think about what it feels like to really care about some issues that affect you directly. to see who is raising money, how many billions of dollars go in, you know very gavethat the guy that $10,000 is going to get his phone call answered. the odds of you getting your phone call answered our zip. -- are zip. what that does to you and your sense of what this country is all about. core of as of it, the self governed body politic with
representation. what that does to you when you look at that, i happen to think -- what is done to divide the parties. we are down to one out of seven americans voting in a primary and most of the candidates are elected in primaries because we have an unholy deal between the two parties. one out of seven is voting in the primary. 14%. could you think votes -- who do you think votes? single issue people, people have a passion for a particular point of view. look not a broadly based at the totality.
if i honestly and truly cannot see a way to having an impact, why do i vote? if i vote, why do i -- if i do not vote, why do i trust the system? i might as well vote for a shelter. shouter.r -- that scares me to death. it is an erosion of everything that this country stands for, that people could come to a conclusion that they don't have a voice because of the way things are operating. that just scares me to death. >> the american public gets this. this is not something we have discovered. if the polls show that over 80% of americans think this system is rigged against them because of money and politics, so the time is right to change this system. pass a you can't
constitutional amendment because it is too hard. i was there when we passed the equal rights amendment. i voted for it. it was a highly controversial issue but it still passed the congress and almost passed through the states. i believe this could be done and it you can't do it, you can at least start the movement. if we asked how many of you would help or ringing doorbell or something to try to help this, and that everybody would say yeah, let's do it. theink that is all across country, i think this country is ready for it. when every candidate says they are -- they are for changing the try, wed we don't even
have to try, we got to try. >> this is a follow-up question for all of you. the polls are very clear and we are seeing it across a lot of opinion polls, different methodologies, same result, youcrats and republicans, are seeing that as some of you mentioned, manifesting in the primaries on both sides. there was a reason that all candidates are speaking to this across-the-board. given that, why is reform such an uphill battle? why is it so difficult to translate? this even a 60-40 issue. issue. an 85-15 the candidates and elected officials, why is reform so difficult? we need to have a
constitutional amendment put in. i have drafted one and given it to some of you. if you don't like that one, get another one. let's get it to somebody and say introduce this, and then run have the questioners on the debates say are you for such and such amendment and if you are not, why not? -- -- think af constitutional amendment is not the solution, what do you think is the right solution? i have tried, we spent weeks with very smart smack -- or a smart staff trying to figure out -- it is so clear and simple, the amendment says the define and regulate
contributions and expenditures, the core of that is this whole thing. that, you't deal with can deal with expenditures and contributions, and that is the .roblem >> but if you past that and turn it over to the federal election commissioners, you are not accomplishing a lot and if we can't even run -- the supreme court has a difficult job, they are trying to balance competing freedoms that we have, and you can go one way or another, so they struck a balance and you can say they were naive about politics and independent if it's not, but even being administered effectively, it seems to me that -- >> let me try to recreate this.
and i thinkto do you are both right, we need to do both, we need to go after big old ideals -- ideas to turn ourselves right side up and we have to chip away. this is difficult because there is so much money dominating the system, it has paralyzed and frozen it. we have a president who appointed me to a job i'm very grateful for you just gave a great talk in springfield about reclaiming our politics and become a more civil and cleaning up money out of the system and making it more fair. he has an executive order sitting on his desk and has had it there for many weeks, to clean up how federal contractors do business with our own government. to say to all federal contractors, you have to disclose who you give money to,
because you are not going to win a contract based on contributions, you will have to win it on merit. we need the president to sign that executive order and take a modest step forward to clean up our system. he can and i think he will do that. bipartisan- this group is encouraging him strongly to take that action. we are talking about big ideas to reform the fec, which is toothless and worthless right now. they are not doing anything to enforce the laws. andbody breaks the law takes illegal contribution and nothing happens to that person because of the 33 slipped, three democrats and three republicans -- 3-3 split, three democrats and three republicans.
-- to overturn citizens, consider and pushed a constitutional amendment, get the candidates for president on interview a point and their supreme court nominees and ask them, will you vote to overturn buckley and citizens united before they appoint them? withnk you have to start success, chipping away at this corrosive and insidious system dominated by a mountain of money . bold ideas to change a system that is not representing. i have a sort of different answer, you have the question about why we have these polls that say one thing but no action. i can give you a one word or two word answer of mitch mcconnell. mcconnell has taken this
issue on from a very personal standpoint. he has blocked most efforts to update the financing system. there was actually a vote in september of 2014 on constitutional amendments to overturn buckley and citizens united. vote.as a 54-42 not one republican voted for it. it was totally partisan. when you go out and talk to the american people, outside of washington, the conversations you can have about money and politics are amazing. everybody gets it. who isell you i someone a registered lobby, you go to the hill and talk to congressional republicans and essentially, the door gets slammed in-your-face. is onwe have had success
fec reform. we have worked hard on a bill that has to democrats and two republicans to try and fix the fec. i will note that the two republicans who bravely went on that bill got phone calls from the leadership saying what the heck did you just do. the party structure at the moment on the public inside -- republican side has taken a position that they believe speech is money and they propose a constitutional amendment and other efforts to try to change the system. my hope is that what you are seeing in this election with mr. trump, with mr. sanders and some is that this dynamic is changing, it is an unsettled electorate and you will see more residence with this issue -- more residence -- resonance with this issue.
i respectfully submit that things have fundamentally changed, but the republican presidential candidates are supporting this. -- what trump is running on. ted cruz has said this. last time they had a vote up there, it was before all of these huge $10 million contributions. the public has changed. look at the polls. you think the leader of the -- if the american public is concerned about that, is going to be able to stop? this that would be like trying to hold back the tide. we need to try. >> from your lips to god's ears. >> i want to talk about this
idea of a constitutional amendment. there are a number of ideas out and theycluding yours, are one of the most popular suggestions in terms of how to reckon with this mass problem and there is an obvious appeal to thinking bold. wonder, if for the second argument, you might think about this historical analogy think if it applies at all. as david mentioned, i wrote a book called supreme power about franklin roosevelt. before president roosevelt decided to pack the court, beginning in 1937, he spent a couple of years considering other approaches to deal with the obstacles that the supreme court was putting up to the new deal, as you all know, it was striking down one new -- one new deal program after another on a whole range of different
constitutional grounds. there was a movement in the country for a constitutional amendment that would strip away power from the court and give more to the congress, a whole range of things. roosevelt decided against it because he said he thought the problem was that the constitution but the court and what can we do about the court. of course, there is not a whole lot you can do about the court and that of you would suggest packing it. do you think that applies, or is there something -- let's talk about that. >> if they vote right on overturning it. >> is there a problem in the constitution that needs to be resolved in this manner, or do we need to wait for the next supreme art appointment, which was a -- which is a frustrating thing to do. >> they have a constitutional amendment pending and debates
and questionnaires talking about it. that affects the supreme court. they listen to the public. look at the second amendment. when i came to the senate, the second amendment was considered to be only relating to militias and through really political activism, they legitimize the subject and the supreme court changed it, so the supreme court listens to the public and they will listen to this. they have been pretty tone deaf in not being able to see what this has done to the country and the congress and the senate and the presidency, but they will, eventually. it goes hand in glove. we can't in washington to concentrate on washington, it is what we know and where we work, but the great news about reform
is, not only that we now have presidential candidates talking about the bologna process being broken, which leads to the economic inequality in our country, but we also have states across the country, 25 states i believe, who have taken this issue on, to reform their own states, cleaning up lobbying and trying to cleave the connection between lobbyists and lobbyists directly giving to a legislator. they did that and south carolina and they affirmed that it was illegal. maine,ncisco, seattle, all passing legislation at the local and state level and republicans cannot object to this. this is a states rights, the people at the grassroots acting to empower small donors to do more. to give at the local level. they are doing more at the state
level and the local level to address some of the inequality in the financial system. when you see this movement from arkansas and montana and idaho and tell of on you across to maine -- and california across to maine, that puts pressure on members of congress to pay more attention. you go in and meet with a public and member of congress -- with a republican member of congress and say your state just past this at the local level, why can't you fight for this at the federal level? that ao the point constitutional amendment couldn't build support at the state level where you will eventually have to have support to get a certain number of the states to be in favor of this. again, back to what i said, you
have to fight like hell, chip away and do the fec reform, the federal contracting reform, make congress accountable and do more . and, do this national effort to address the states taking this on and a constitutional amendment. together, i think that will take our system back. will it be done in the next two years? no. in the next three or four, i think we might have a shot. i really don't believe it would take that long. people say look at the history of constitutional amendments, but things have changed, the public is on fire on this issue. look at what is going on. look at the debates.
watch trump. he says he is not one your money, just your vote -- he does not want your money, just your vote. before we go to the audience -- yes? this ande old dog in if there is one thing i have learned, it is that every time you do something legislatively, there are unintended consequences. to aey was a response perceived -- that had unintended consequences. we are really good at saying we can fix something. the thing that attracts me about what tim was talking about is if you do believe in representative works, it and that it
guarantee it works best at the local level where you can talk to your mayor or york county office lawyer state legislator. it works second-best at the state level. up here inast best washington. if you want to see change and this goes back to the question of how do you get it there, i think you have to start at that local and state level. then you begin to address the hazard of that unintended consequence because the genius of federal system is we have 50 states and some of them are making a mess and others are doing it right. we are learning from each other, then you begin to build a logic behind your case. if you start coming top-down, you make it partisan, you make it a national demand, you run the risk.
evidence that when the people of this country begin to move in a direction, the court does listen. it does affect what they do. we had a very close vote on citizens. one vote made the difference. i'm not sure that that vote would have been there had we had something going a year or two before that that said this is important to us. questions,f you have you can line up at the bikes and we will alternate sides and take your question. have unfortunately, a fairly open process and individuals -- we are seeing it in this for the campaign. can you imagine a candidate day, $6 tv and the next
million. -- the perception was that she artie got the big bucks and the front is getting a lot of support because he is busy saying he does not want your money. the purpose of all this money at the end of the day is votes. andy does not directly vote as individuals to control the process and take responsibility and express views, even small contributions can make a big difference. >> and like we have a question here. -- it looks like we have a question here. >> instead of limiting the money, instead having the money matched on the other side, allowing the idea that might have no traction to be put out there with uneven discussion of
it. that -- theret are a number of places where the matching system has worked and worked well. new york city has a very robust matching system. seattle has done something different, a voucher system in which they sent $100 to every registered voter and they will be able to give that money to the candidate of their choice. whereve a number of times , which wasnt system a voluntary system, had a matching system that worked very well. i think rory a lot of answers that can be done in the meantime. one of my political concerns with the constitutional amendment and this is not a different question, it is a very easy answer for politics.
i would like to see people put to the test, are you going to support this legislation to reform the fec? are you going to support a system of matching a small donor? i want to get these guys and make sure there is an opportunity to not just make a general statement, but to make -- go forward and make some changes. -- what money sitting senators and representatives can accept that don't even have to go to the whole legislative process in addition to the executive orders. i think a robust small donor matching system would do one really important change, and that is change the incentive. right now the incentive for the candidates are to pursue the big dollars and there is zero toentive for an individual give a small dollar contribution because the big ones are going to make you drown out.
i think it is a very important system that is being tried all around the country. >> i say these are good systems, but the problem is you get ,atched, you make the pledge and that is matched, but your opponent, because of buckley and other decisions, can spend unlimited amounts. you can't deal with him if you're not both playing about the same rules. >> i was not talking about matching money that was put in, i saved matching the other side. $100,000, puts in than the public money matches against $100,000, so that you have an even battle. >> the courts actually struck that down in arizona. the courts said that was not constitutional. it is a good idea and we
worked on that and figured out it was not constitutional. >> let's jump to a settlement over here. -- gentleman over here. >> i worked in north-central indiana. years and -- i want a slight tweak on two points, one -- joe donnelly was the most successful guy i knew, we went to events. a great guy, but that is this -- still the case, today. -- i'm sure you saw the same thing. i don't think it is a question
i forget, i think -- who this quote comes from, i think digging about the challenge, this is the challenge i see which is somewhat said, organized read will be disorganized democracy every time. i think that is -- the name that has not come up yet is my dad which is the koch brothers but if you are republicans, you can -- that challenge, thinking about the challenge, i think it's .mportant access is there, if they will take it. had one i person who had a request that was not purely self-interested or ideological. this person said, this is a good idea. a tax professor, accountant.
is, to ad thing certain extent, we have created a problem for business. love capitalism. corporations have an obligation to maximize shareholder wealth. they can now spend unlimited money in elections. corporations and their offices now have an obligation to spend asemocracy, to much money on the government as well maximize their wealth. i'm curious to hear what people a problemt not only with government, but a problem in boardrooms, are they obligated to spend that money? >> let me jump on the first part
of the question, you asked about indiana, my home district. i used to do the same thing as joe. .arbage can turkey roasts we would get 40 people to come to have access to their congressman. we would do that all over the district. joe does that. why do they do that? one of the reasons is probably they are smart politicians and good public servant. the other key reason is because that is one of the few competitive congressional districts left in america. we have a system -- going back where,prior senator -- etc. having -- instead of having 435 people fighting in the
district, it is estimated that 435e are about 25 out of competitive races in america. somewhere between 25 and 50. maybe 25. how can that be in our great democracy that you have 350 people who don't even have to go meet with their constituents? then, they come back to washington, and raise money. they don't raise money for their elections, they raise money for their chairmanships, for the rnc and the dnc. relate all this money that often times the other queues in the legislatively, or not that person that they met with, to do something to make higher
education affordable. that falls down the line. it is this corrosive system, redistricting, and money, the has led to a democracy that is dysfunctional, deadlocked. i hate to say this, but we get the government we deserve. the people of america get the government they deserve. approvals,lly up, and take this government back, we will not change. whether it is a constitutional amendment or fec reform, the american people really have to for the 75%-80 5% frustration rate, but are you going to do something about it? >> i think you raised a very important point. that is the impact of the current system on two different issues. rule, theas a general
fortune 500 companies have come up with a statement about how the legal system is in a shakedown. and, how the special interest system results in expenditures for things that folks in the pentagon don't even want. is -- toosystem that often, there is this notion of talking about money in politics, as a progressive, or liberal issue. that is why i'm so pleased to see this group. this is not a left or right issue, it is about how you think democracies work. i have been studies that look at states that have adopted the massive systems of public financing. guess what, it is not republican or democratic system, it is just a different kind of system. this is community is suffering.
national defense is suffering. >> one point to what tim was saying. we talk about all these , 30-50 being competitive, yet, there is tremendous turnover. the average member of the house only serves three or four terms. you say, how can it be? when they getquit in the system. they go in with the best of intentions, they are honest people, trying to make a difference, and they end up .eing pushed into this system this is not why i got into this, then, they leave. about practical
education, a lot of these guys have had practical education. >> they don't like it. >> please, anybody watching this, don't start saying that the system is corrupt, in terms of its effectiveness. dysfunctional, but i will tell you, in my life experience, i guarantee there is no disagreement. members of congress are honest, patriotic people, who are there, because they want to make a difference. they leave because it is really hard to make a difference when deadlock. is in it is not just money, it is redistricting.
we have to deal with one issue at a time. start with this, or go home -- california, the midwest, florida, what they're doing on redistricting, let's try here in tennessee, arkansas, or ohio. other.n from each then, you can start this movement that says, we will take the country back -- a great way to put it -- but give our citizens a voice again. we have lost her our voice. it scares all of us. you.ank i will play devil's advocate. corrosivee system is and's in the city is -- and insidious.
hasn't always been corrosive and insidious. there was still access by a limited few, just a different limited few. if money is in free speech, how do you ensure equal access to information for parties? >> that is a very good question, and a very fair question. i would say, first of all, maybe there has always been the potential in the system that has increasingly been about raising money and member spending more time doing it. the possibility of this gridlock system would come about, but now, because of complicated decisions like buckley, citizens united, it has tsunami ofuch a
money in all parts of the system, plus, you have to redistricting problem where state legislators are carving out seats for members of congress on the house side, and they don't have to legislate, they don't have to work on your problems. all they have to do is keep the primary from taking place. layered that problem onto this. in addition, because of the complicated supreme court cases, at the presidential level, you have very wealthy americans that can write a single check to a single candidate, and keeps them hampshire,w michigan -- they don't have to go out and commits all of you in .his room to get the money
all they have to do is get one them, andbankroll then they are a voice out there, sometimes for good, sometimes for not so good. you have all that these cascading influences out there that have happened at the same time, and i think, really collided to create a system that the not allow generally american average citizen to have the voice that jefferson, washington, adams, and our founders said was an equal opportunity system. it is not working. onif we could just pause anything that it can be done short of a constitutional amendment to put genie back in j the bottle? >> one of the most ludicrous parts of the system are the
candidate-centri super pacs. you remember mitt romney talking about his super pac. the door of the federal election commission. they could come in reasonable, rational rules about what constitutes independence. that is just a starting place. we have had independent expenditures, people forget that, since buckley. often a lack of communication, people were not working right. there are also other ways. dark money groups. over my goodness. problem.n irs they say, as long as you don't spend more than 50% of your
money on political activity, you are a social welfare organization. that is ridiculous. this is where mr. roemer hits the nail on the head. my experience of 30 years of politics is that most of the consequences are in fact intended. [laughter] i think there is so much that can be done, even right now. hertainly on super pacs, t fec could move tomorrowe. >> let me just say one thing about independence. we had an election down in louisiana not too long ago. one of the candidates was in a .reck the day before election the woman. no sex involved. she happens to be the chairman of his super pac. [laughter] no coordination.
>> a cup of coffee. the'm curious, between senate being a six-year term, and the house being a two-year term, how much pressure there is to raise money. are some countries, like the philippines, that have a three-year term for the house. this reduces pressure for fundraising for races that are 50% more time between terms. as i understand it, jimmy carter, after he left the presidency thought that maybe the presidency should have term.r -- one six-year what you think of those ideas? before buckley, senators
generally would raise their money in the year before elections. the other five of the six-year terms, they would tend to their business. it wasn't as bad for house members either. all sixders raise money years. they do it morning, noon, night, weekend. these guys do not do the job. they are bracing money. they are traveling all over the country to do it. i think it is scandalous how little time they spend learning their job. >> think about it, in the house, if all the seats are safe, and all you are worrying about is the primary, where is all the money going? primaries are not all that expensive, especially if you can avoid them.
part of it is that they raise money and half or two thirds of it they give to other candidates, the party, or the house republican or democratic campaign committee, not really on their own campaign. country,ricts in the particularly because they are you still have to advertise, but the costs are rural areas the new york, connecticut, or somewhere else. likeey are making out bandits. let's be clear. >> if you want to make a lot of money in america today, by a radio or tv station in iowa and new hampshire. just wait for the onslaught of money to be spent in the primaries. yourself if you
are looking at the tube. [laughter] >> can i? one word was mentioned here that had not been mentioned before. that is party. i don't know -- i'm not the arts there limits --imi aren't there limits now? >> there are limits on what can be spent on the primaries. >> think about what california is to do with the winner take all primary. the top two people in a general , the idea is by doing it that way, they can force those two to compete for the center, where most of us are. think about that and terms of what if we took the limit off of
parties. y's function is to win elections. try tourpose has to be get some districting reform. try to get people elected by competing for the majority of of public, not one out seven. weekend have a perverse impact -- we again have a perverse impact. we have replaced our two parties 's -- we are crazy. pac's. controls the interestedeen really in issue one and the campaign legal center. among other things, you are very
positive. i appreciate your focusing in on concrete steps that can be done now. i think that is really important. one question i had is if you could only pick one thing that you would urge people to believe o really lobby members of congress on, what would that be? >> you know where i stand. [laughter] talkingn, if we were short-term, which i often think about, the first place i would go, other than trying to get the something, is the ,onnection between lobbyists this unholy alliance, we have the lobbyists coming in representing those giving a lot of the money, the ability for the lobbyists to not only give themselves -- that is not the
real issue -- it is about the ability to organize the money. everybody knows, if you are the lobbyist who has organized all this money, you are getting in the door. that is a very fixable problem, and fairly simple legislative legislatively to do. bbying is a very good profession. what has happened in washington is you have this combustible cocktail. the lobbying community, billionaires, special interests , all kind of get in bed together. if that was the first line you could draw, that would change how the town works. i would disagree with that.
i think it may be really hard to get done. i believe that we have an opportunity to address a lot of issues with the reform of the be, to the burden on them to responsible, inc. it with some specific actions to address the very tangible problem. defining agood at problem. it is easy to see a problem. putting people in the position to affect change, they are there. make it possible. >> i would say two things. they are connected, and doable, and achievable in the next few .eeks, or several weeks when john kennedy was president, there was a poll done. the american people were asked,
do you believe government can be a positive force in your life? i think something like 75% of americans said, yeah, i do. whether the post office, veterans, something in government, yes, can be positive. s,day, with our millennial that is upside down. no one believes that the national level -- at the state level, it can be a positive force. that is depressing to see that. show confidence that we can do this. show the reformer community that we can get some wins. it would be two parts. forwould be all the courage president obama to sign this order and clean up federal contracting so there is a bright flashlight on this process. every federal contractor that
does business with our government, they need to disclose. secondly, coming back to the fec , you break the law when you are takeng for congress, and legal education's, or break a limit. there is a limit. you should pay a price for that. right now, literally, nothing happens to anybody. compass, in fact, uses the fec, .s a political tool if we can perform the fec, and get congress to pass a bill to change the demographics there, maybe it rotates -- for democrats, three republicans, depending on who is president,
independent people appointed. that could do a lot to change enforced. is then, you build from there. you go to the states. states are encouraged to keep up their reforms. efforts.prudence accomplish is limit you could be working on at the same time. that is the kind of moment to we need to see from the american people on this. >> there is no silver bullet in this. functioning, we should expect. secondly, i've always thought it is a good idea -- elections to s to cost money. you can diminish the role of large contributions with small contributions.
but you're saying right now. ing just, when i was in congress, year after year, go back to the system we had before to give people will a tax credit for small conservation, a couple hundred dollars, that will not cost you anything. largerx deduction for contributions. so, if people give country .ince, like doing the lottery the whole purpose is citizen involvement and a system that is responsive to the average citizen. the average simpson has a theponsible the two -- average citizen has responsibility too. >> any closing statements from the rest of the panel? >> we have to do something to create sense that it can be done
. we need some early wins, some very short victories where people can say, oh, i believe it is possible. it will happen. >> can i say one short think ng? ou look at someone like nelson mandela. inspent 24 years in prison south africa. one of the things that sustained him was the fact that when he got out, he wanted to bring democracy to his people. he held up america as the standard for that democracy in the world. we were that beacon of hope. what we had, he wanted freedom and equality for his people. sadly, today, when you travel around the world, you start to hear from people, you know what, america is becoming a lot more
like the rest the world. you don't have competitive elections, you have money swirling all over your system, you have a corrosive and insidious deadlocked system that does not get much done. we need to address this. we need to take this democracy back. you can do it. people are listing to this argument now. it is fundamentally changed. i think if we don't use terminology like buckley, citizens united, and talk about ,ur democracy, and our founders and equality for all people, and the voice of our citizens, and that our democracy is safe, i think this will turn. i really believe there is a
positive wave coming to take that this government. >> my last, is i think our democracy is both robust and positivefragile at the same tim. my father left his high school, i think at age 17, to go fight in world war ii, because of the threat to our nation. i remember taking my knees to niece to the -- my holocaust museum, and we saw the story of that, and, in germany, adolf hitler came to power through elections. they had no clue. every time we think about our democracy we get the we deserve. a lot of us take it for granted. we hadalways been there, problems before, but we always work it out. i think it is much more fragile than that. think, really, as a nation, and the people, cannot assume
that just because we have had 200 plus years of the democracy that we are entitled, in some way, to 200 more. if we are careful with what happens, and the way the system actually works, we will lose it. we will think, what happened ?ere i really think this is the time. senator johnson hit the nail on the head. there is a wave, and now is the moment to catch the wave. if we don't, we lose the moment. >> grover norquist has a pledge that #about taxes. they all signed, or refused to big politicals a issue. we need to make campaign finance a political issue like that. the way to do is put in a
constitutional amendment and ask a member, are you for limiting contributions by giving the power to congress to legislate, or not? it could be a powerful way to mobilize the public. i'm for all these little things that we would do -- the fec, this bill. people have not heard of the fec, but they probably would support you. that is not the way to get a mobilize force going, which is what we need to do. the way to do that is with a constitutional amendment and asking people, yes or no, are you for it? >> thanks to all of you for sharing your experience. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching american
history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. eastern connecticut state kiofessor thomas balcers describes how congress in the early 1800s bonded across party lines. however, leading up to the civil war, friendships and alliances disintegrated. hour.ass is about one prof. balcerski: welcome, everybody. it is me, your professor. i'm excited to offer an election on the political culture of the antebellum congress. the outline, we start with a review of the party system. i will introduce a concept to