February 26, 2001
In keeping with our longstanding concern for the strength of our democratic institutions, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in 1998 spoke out to support Congressional consideration of options for campaign finance reform. The JCPA applauds the decision by Congressional leadership to finally consider this issue within the next several months.
The disproportionate role of money in politics and the pervasive need of candidates for public office to spend a major portion of their time raising money rather than raising issues of public concern, has fostered increasing voter cynicism. It is the prevailing perception, if not the reality, that elected officials are overly dependent upon and solicitous of the wealthiest contributors to their campaigns.
Citizens must feel secure that their votes will count and will not be undermined by attention to special economic interests. Their disillusionment with current practices is demonstrated in part by steadily decreasing levels of political involvement and voter participation.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) therefore welcomes Congressional consideration of options for campaign finance reform, including the most prominent of the recent legislative proposals, the McCain-Feingold Bill, which would ban soft money, make the airwaves more accessible to candidates and end or limit other abuses, to be consistent with the First Amendment.
Without endorsing any particular legislative formulation, the JCPA urges an open debate of the issues involved, to enable our community and the nation to evaluate appropriate measures for reform that will strengthen our democratic process.