Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Senator Cornyn also likes his corporate financing.
Thank you for contacting me regarding campaign finance reform. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.
Prior to my election to the United States Senate, President George W. Bush signed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act into law (P.L. 107—155). In part, this law amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by increasing the limit on "hard money"—regulated donation limits on direct campaign contributions used to influence elections—and bans "soft money"—money raised outside federal election restrictions and used to indirectly influence elections. The law also regulates certain political communications for a specific period preceding an election.
On September 8, 2003, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the claim that the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act restricts free speech and violates the First Amendment. The Court considered this challenge and issued a decision on December 10, 2003, upholding the reform legislation.
However, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Act that completely prohibited corporations, including non-profit corporations, from exercising their First Amendment right to praise or criticize political candidates in the weeks before an election. In the Citizens United case, the Federal Election Commission had effectively banned a movie produced by a non-profit corporation because that movie was critical of Hillary Clinton, then a candidate for President. The Obama Administration argued for an expansive interpretation of the law that would have even permitted the government to ban certain books if it found that those books contained “electioneering communications.”
I agree with the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the provisions of this law that violated the intent of the First Amendment, which reads: “Congress shall make no law...abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press.” Our First Amendment rights are fundamental principles that strengthen our democracy and republican form of government. The right to criticize the government and argue for one’s political beliefs is essential to a free country. I understand the concerns many Americans have with respect to campaign finance reform. I believe we must make America's campaign process transparent while also protecting our political freedom. You may be certain that I will continue to closely monitor this issue.
I appreciate having the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856