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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 64

Campaign Finance Reform

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23 June 1998


The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 5 minutes.

1998 Ron Paul 64:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, in recent months there has been a lot of discussion on the House floor dealing with campaign finance reform.

1998 Ron Paul 64:2
I have spoken out on this issue, and once again I want to make some comments about how I see this problem and what we might do about it. Also I want to mention an amendment that I will be bringing up.

1998 Ron Paul 64:3
I suspect we will be talking about campaign finance reform for a couple more months. I see this somewhat differently than others. Others see that all we have to do is regulate the money and we are going to solve all our problems. But all governments are prone to be influenced by special interests. That is the nature of government.

1998 Ron Paul 64:4
So the smaller government that you have, the less influence you have and the less effort there is made to influence the government. But when you have a big government, there will be a lot of people and a lot of groups that will want to influence government, and that is where I see the problem.

1998 Ron Paul 64:5
Twenty-five years ago in the 1970s, after Watergate, the Congress wrote a lot of rules and regulations. Hundreds of candidates have filled out forms and have done all kinds of things that have been very complicated but have achieved very little. The problem is every bit as bad as it was before, and most people admit that.

1998 Ron Paul 64:6
I think there is a good reason for that. They were addressing the symptoms rather than the cause. And the cause is, of course, that big government is involved in every aspect of our lives, our personal lives, our economic lives, and also around the world, influencing almost every government in the world. So not only is there an incentive for business people to come here to influence our government, but there are labor groups that come to influence our government. We have international groups and other governments coming to influence us. And until that is settled, we can rest assured that we will continue to have these problems.

1998 Ron Paul 64:7
But there is another problem that I want to address, and that is the decreased interest in campaigns and elections. Thirty years ago we would have 30 some percent of the people would turn out in the primary elections. Today it is less than 20 percent. It is a steady decline. There is good reason for this because as government gets bigger and as money becomes more influential, and money talks, the little people who have their desires and their voices unheard and want to be heard, they feel very frustrated. So it is understandable and expected that there will be lower and lower turnout in our elections. That is exactly what is happening.

1998 Ron Paul 64:8
Now, why is this the case? Is it just because they are apathetic? I do not think so. I think a lot of people make wise choices and say it does not make a lot of difference; my vote does not really count because so much money is influencing what happens in Washington with legislation. And yet we have rules and laws throughout the country that make it just about impossible for anybody outside the ordinary two-party system to be represented.

1998 Ron Paul 64:9
Twenty percent of the people do not bother registering because of the frustration, 20 percent of the people who do register, register as Independents. So that leaves about 60 percent of the vote split between Republicans and Democrats, each getting 30 percent. They are a minority. The people who are really shortchanged are the majority, that 40 percent who feel unrepresented and very frustrated about the situation.

1998 Ron Paul 64:10
How does this come about? It just happens that Republicans and Democrats tend to control every legislative body in the country, every State legislative body. And, therefore, they write rules and regulations and have high fees for people getting on ballots, and you do not have any competition. And there is lack of interest, and there is a lot of frustration.

1998 Ron Paul 64:11
Take, for instance, some of the groups that have tried in the past to get on and become known but are frustrated by all these rules. There are Independents, Socialists, Greens, Taxpayers Party, Populists, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Reform Party, Natural Party, American Party, Liberal Party, Conservative Party, Right to Life, Citizens Party, New Alliance Party, Prohibition Party, States Rights Party. All these people have been totally frustrated because they have so many obstacles put in their way by the requirement of huge numbers of signatures on ballots.

1998 Ron Paul 64:12
I would like to quote from Richard Winger, who writes a letter called the Ballot Access News. He cites one of the worst examples. He says Florida now requires 242,000 valid signatures to get a minor party or Independent candidate on the ballot of any State-wide office other than President. Only one signature is permitted on each petition sheet. He goes on. And the payment that is required is $8,250.

1998 Ron Paul 64:13
This is what needs to be changed. I have an amendment to the bill that will change this. I hope all my colleagues will pay attention to it.
Notes:

Ron Paul also speaks on campaign finance reform in 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 59.

1998 Ron Paul 64:7 There is good reason for this because as government gets bigger and as money becomes more influential, and money talks, the little people who have their desires and their voices unheard and want to be heard, they feel very frustrated. They is redundant.

1998 Ron Paul 64:9 The people who are really shortchanged are the majority, that 40 percent who feel unrepresented and very frustrated about the situation. 40 percent is a plurality, not a majority.

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