The Book of Ron Paul
1998 Ron Paul Chapter 59
16 June 1998
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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) for 5 minutes.
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Mr. PAUL. Thank you, Mr. SPEAKER. I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks.
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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, so ordered.
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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, campaign finance reform has been a major topic for months on the House floor and, I understand, will continue to be a major debate. The last time the Congress has passed any major reforms dealing with campaigning was in the 1970s, and every problem that we had back then we have today, only its much worse. Today, in order to comply with the law, we fill out tens of thousands of pages of forms, there is total misunderstanding of what the rules and regulations are, there are numerous fines being levied against many Members and many candidates, there are many inaccuracies put into the record mainly because a lot of people cant even understand the rules and regulations, and I would not be surprised if just about everybody who ever filled out a financial reform at one time or the other inadvertently had some inaccuracies. All the challenges to these records have always been done by opponents and usually politicized, and it has not been motivated for the best of reasons.
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New reforms are now being proposed, and I predict they will be no more successful than the numerous rules and regulations that we imposed on candidates in the 1970s. The reason I say this is that we are treating a symptom and not the cause. The symptom, of course, is very prevalent. Everybody knows there is a lot of big money that influences politics. I understand that there is $100 million a month spent by the lobbyists trying to influence our votes on the House floor and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to influence our elections. So some would conclude, therefore, thats the case, we have to regulate the money, the money is the problem.
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But I disagree. Money isnt the problem. The basic problem is that there is so much to be gained by coming to Washington, lobbying Congress and influencing legislation. The problem isnt that we have too much freedom. The problem is that we have too much government, and if we think that just more regulations and more government will get rid of the problem, were kidding ourselves. What we need is smaller government, less influence of the government on everything that we do in our personal lives as well as our economic lives. The Congress is always being involved.
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Not only domestically, but Congress is endlessly involved in many affairs overseas. Were involved by passing out foreign aid, getting involved in programs like the IMF and World Bank.
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Were interfering in internal affairs militarily in over a hundred countries at the present time. So theres a tremendous motivation for people to come here and try to influence us. They see it as a good investment.
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More rules and regulations, I believe, will do one thing if the size of government is not reduced. What we will do is drive the influence under ground. That is a natural consequence as long as there is an incentive to invest.
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Under the conditions that we have today the only way we can avoid the influence is not ourselves, we, the Members of Congress, being a good investment. We should be independent, courageous and do the things that are right rather than being influenced by the money. But the rules and the regulations will not do very much to help solve this problem. Attacking basic fundamental rights would certainly be the wrong thing to do, and thats what so much of this legislation is doing. Its attacking the fundamental right to speak out to petition the government to spend ones money the way he sees fit, and this will only make the problems much worse.
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Governments too big, our freedoms are being infringed upon, and then we come along and say those individuals who might want to change even for the better, they will have their rights infringed upon.
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There are many groups who come to Washington who do not come to buy influence, but they come to try to influence their government, which is a very legitimate thing. Think of the groups that come here who want to defend the Second Amendment. Think of the groups that want to defend right to life. Think of the groups that want to defend the principles of the American Civil Liberties Union and the First Amendment. And then there are groups who would defend property rights, and there will be groups who will come who will be lobbyist types and influential groups, and they want to influence elections, and they may be adamantly opposed to the United Nations and interference in foreign policies overseas. They have a legitimate right to come here.
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Sometimes I wonder if those individuals who are now motivated to put more regulations on us might even fear the fact that some of the good guys, some of the good groups who are coming here to influence Washington to reduce the size of government are no longer able to.
1998 Ron Paul Chapter 59
Ron Paul also discusses campaign finance reform in 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 64.
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When Ron Paul said, everybody who ever filled out a financial reform perhaps he meant to say, everybody who ever filled out a financial report.