U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-KS, has announced his co-sponsorship of S 22, the Hagel-Landrieu Open and Accountable Campaign Financing Act of 2001.

"I was sent to Washington, in part, to reduce the size and scope of our federal government and reform our government's service to the people. Campaign finance reform is key to achieving this goal, so I announce my co-sponsorship of S 22, the Open and Accountable Campaign Financing Act of 2001. This legislation strikes a balanced and constitutional approach to campaign finance reform," he said.

"This legislation institutes a cap on soft money contributions, a needed reform. It also increases for inflation, the amount an individual can give to a campaign--so-called 'hard dollars.' Individual contributions to candidates are the best way to fund political campaigns. The bill strengthens existing disclosure requirements on candidates and the national parties, requires standardized reporting software and increased electronic disclosure by the Federal Election Commission, and requires disclosure of the sponsors of independent expenditures in a Constitutionally sound manner--all needed reforms.

"S 22 does not permit the raising of unlimited soft money, nor does it ban soft money outright. It limits the amount of soft money candidates can raise. The bill does not further restrict hard money or remove limits to what can be raised. It simply raises existing limits to account for inflation. S 22 does not preempt speech, it ensures we know who is speaking, and it does so in accord with the Constitution.

"I always have supported campaign finance reform. However, I have supported it within the guiding light of the Constitution's guarantees of free association and speech, as well as Supreme Court precedent. In the past, I opposed an iteration of McCain-Feingold, due to issue advocacy restrictions that would have been unconstitutional because of limitations on free speech. Following the removal of this provision in McCain-Feingold in 1999, I supported the legislation in hopes of helping to move the debate surrounding campaign finance reform forward. As I said then, 'I will oppose any attempt to amend this bill to prohibit issue advocacy. Groups that seek to advertise a point of view should not, and I believe constitutionally cannot, be limited from their participation in the political system.'.

"The current iteration of McCain-Feingold restricts issue advocacy, which is unconstitutional," Brownback said.

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