TODAY I am signing into law the Federal [Election] Campaign Act Amendments of 1974.
By removing whatever influence big money and special interests may have on our Federal electoral process, this bill should stand as a landmark of campaign reform legislation.
In brief, the bill provides for reforms in five areas:
--It limits the amounts that can be contributed to any candidate in any Federal election, and it limits the amounts that those candidates can expend in their campaigns.
--It provides for matching funds for Presidential primaries and public financing for Presidential nominating conventions and Presidential elections through use of the $1 voluntary tax checkoff.
--It tightens the rules on any use of cash, it limits the amount of speaking honorariums, and it outlaws campaign dirty tricks.
--It requires strict campaign financial reporting and disclosure.
--It establishes a bipartisan six-member Federal Election Commission to see that the provisions of the act are followed.
Although I support the aim of this legislation, I still have some reservations about it--especially about the use of Federal funds to finance elections. I am pleased that the money used for Federal financing will come from the $1 checkoff, however, thus allowing each taxpayer to make his own decision as to whether he wants his money spent this way. I maintain my strong hope that the voluntary contribution will not become mandatory and that it will not in the future be extended to Congressional races. And although I do have reservations about the first amendment implications inherent in the limits on individual contributions and candidate expenditures, I am sure that such issues can be resolved in the courts.
I am pleased with the bipartisan spirit that has led to this legislation. Both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee have expressed their pleasure with this bill, noting that it allows them to compete fairly.
The times demand this legislation.
There are certain periods in our Nation's history when it becomes necessary to face up to certain unpleasant truths.
We have passed through one of those periods. The unpleasant truth is that [big money influence has come to play an unseeming role in our electoral process.]
[**It is a great privilege and a very high honor to have an opportunity of particess.**] This bill will help to right that wrong.
I commend the extensive work done by my colleagues in both houses of Congress on this bill, and I am pleased to sign it today.