The Campaign Spot

Somebody Wants You To Know About Fred Thompson and Campaign Finance Reform

Somebody doesn’t like Fred Thompson.

Earlier today, somebody who insisted on anonymity offered me “some information on McCain-Feingold.” At first I thought this was an oddly timed shot at the candidacy of John McCain, who has, er, hit on a bit of a rough patch lately.
Nope, it’s an effort to showcase Fred Thompson’s vocal support for McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, legislation that tends to a level of support among NRO readers roughly comparable to the Ebola virus.
Now, I think it’s acceptable to note that the person who called this information to my attention would prefer to see a candidate not named Fred Thompson get the Republican nomination. I cannot help but suspect that with Thompson having something of a bad day on other fronts, this individual is attempting to emulate the advice of James Carville, who said that when an opponent is drowning, throw him an anvil.

November 1, 1996 

PRESIDENT ENDORSES McCAIN-FEINGOLD-THOMPSON BILL

 

Washington, DC–Senator Fred Thompson today responded to President Clinton’s remarks in California on his support for campaign finance reform: “As a sponsor of the McCain-Feingold-Thompson Senate Campaign Reform Act,” Thompson said, “I welcome President Clinton’s endorsement of our legislation. It is unfortunate that it took a public outcry over campaign finance abuses to get the President’s full attention on the need for reform. We intend to reintroduce our bill when Congress convenes in January.”

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 1997 

McCAIN, FEINGOLD, THOMPSON INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN CAMPAIGN REFORM ACT OF 1997

 

Today Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Fred Thompson (R-TN) introduced the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 1997, a bill that bans soft money contributions; provides free and discounted TV time to candidates who voluntarily limit their spending; bans foreign contributions and restricts political action committees (PAC).

 

“This proposal levels the playing field and opens up the process to people who simply want to do the best for their country,’ said Thompson. ‘We must get back to winning elections not on the basis of who can raise the most money, but on the basis of the competition of ideas.”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JANUARY 22, 2001

THOMPSON CONTINUES PUSH FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

 

Building on his efforts to restore faith in the federal government, U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) today joined Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Russell Feingold (D-WI) and others to continue their push to enact campaign finance reform. The McCain-Feingold legislation bans soft money contributions, restricts corporate and union spending on campaign ads, and provides for greater disclosure and stronger election laws.  “One of my first priorities when I arrived in Washington six years ago was to reform the campaign finance system in this country, and I believe that this may be the best opportunity we’ve had to pass real reform since this fight began,” Senator Thompson said. “I am optimistic that we’re making substantial progress toward fixing a broken system that breeds cynicism and apathy among out citizens.”

 

Senator Thompson said that as part of the campaign finance reform bill, he will push for an increase in the hard money contribution limit: “Not only have we fallen behind in terms of the enormous expenses that are attendant to running a campaign, but I believe that the focus of campaigns has gone from hard money for about twenty years to soft money to-in this last election-independent ads. I think that if we increase the hard money limits, we would do better with regard to the soft money and independent ads situation. If people had their choice, I think they’d rather give money the old-fashioned way.”

 

Senator Thompson has been an original cosponsor of the McCain- Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill since its first introduction in 1995. 

 

April 2, 2001

THOMPSON LAUDS PASSAGE OF McCAIN-FEINGOLD CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM LEGISLATION

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) today lauded Senate passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation, which passed the Senate by a 59-41 vote. The bill bans soft money contributions, restricts corporate and union spending on campaign ads, and provides greater disclosure and stronger election laws. “This is a good day for the United States Senate. It demonstrates once again that this body can respond to a demonstrated public need,” said Thompson, an original co-sponsor of the McCain- Feingold bill and a supporter of the legislation since 1995. 

 

“The McCain-Feingold bill will restore a campaign finance system that has become more loophole than law,” Senator Thompson added. “We will once again ensure that unlimited corporate, union, and individual funds will not compromise the integrity of the political process.” During debate on the bill last week, the Senate approved two amendments sponsored by Senator Thompson. A Thompson-Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) amendment increased the individual hard money limits on contributions to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000. It also increased several other hard money limits and indexed their future growth to inflation. “But for the willingness of Senator Thompson and Senator Feinstein to find common ground on the issue of increasing (hard) money limits, I fear our efforts would have proved as futile as they have in the past,” Senator McCain said on the Senate floor prior to the vote on final passage. 

 

March 20, 2002 Thompson Lauds Final Senate Passage of Campaign Finance Reform BillReform Bill Now Goes to President  

 

Washington – U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) today lauded final Senate passage of bi-partisan campaign finance reform legislation saying the bill “will do an awful lot of good” both in terms of cleaning up the campaign finance system and helping to alleviate some of the cynicism the American people feel toward politicians and the political process. Thompson was the first Republican other than Senator John McCain to support the bill in 1995 and has been working for its passage since that time.  “Today we’re doing something that will benefit the political system, the Senate, and most importantly, the nation,” Thompson said. “This legislation will help to reform a campaign finance system that was becoming more and more dependent on huge soft money contributions and leaving room for fewer and fewer people to be involved in the process.”

 

Thompson said today’s vote will help to “reduce cynicism among the American people, who are seeing debates on important issues degenerate into bribery scandals because of the focus on how much money each side of the issue has contributed to the legislators involved and their parties.”

 

March 27, 2002 Thompson Lauds Signing of Historic Campaign Finance Reform Bill 

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) today lauded final approval of historic campaign finance reform legislation as President Bush signed the bill into law.  Thompson said, “I want to applaud President Bush for showing both foresight and courage in signing a bill that will help to restore confidence in our electoral system and reduce cynicism among the American people. This is a major step toward changing the way we do business here in Washington.”

I am also pointed to some comments from Sen. Russ Feingold, back in March 2002:

“I am deeply grateful to Senator Fred Thompson for his longstanding and steadfast support of this bill, and for his great skill and fairness in negotiating an agreement on hard money limits that the vast majority of this body could support. Without that agreement, we simply could not have moved this bill through the Senate.”

 

“As the world of campaign finance has changed, so has the McCain-Feingold bill. In late 1997, in the wake of the Thompson investigation, we reluctantly concluded that we needed to first focus our efforts on closing the biggest loopholes in the system: the soft money and the phony issue ads.”

Does this matter? Well, those following the race closely probably remember that Thompson supported McCain-Feingold. Perhaps the more interesting question is, what does Thompson think of the legislation today?

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