Senator Collins' Statement On Campaign Finance Reform Vote

              “As an original cosponsor of the 2002 bipartisan Campaign Reform law, known as “McCain-Feingold,” I was very disappointed that the Supreme Court struck down so many of its key provisions. Throughout my service in the Senate, I have worked for greater transparency in our campaign financing system, and I continue to believe that this system must and can be further reformed.

             “I believe Congress should pass strong legislation to increase transparency and expedite the reporting of campaign donations, but I share serious concerns that many others have raised about the proposed Constitutional amendment before the Senate.  For example, the American Civil Liberies Union wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee “strongly” opposing this Constitutional amendment,  saying that it "would severely limit the First Amendment, lead directly to government censorship of political speech and result in a host of unintended consequences that would undermine the goals the amendment has been introduced to advance….”

            “Meaningful reform of our campaign finance laws is achievable in a manner consistent with the First Amendment. One approach is to strengthen transparency laws to ensure that voters have quick and easy access to information that can help them make informed decisions. That is why I am a cosponsor of a bill introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, which would require all election-related designations, statements, and reports to be filed directly with the Federal Election Commission. I also support legislation proposed by Senator Angus King (I-ME) which would require campaigns to notify the FEC within 48 hours of receiving campaign contributions of $1,000 or more, and that would require Senate candidates to file reports directly with the FEC, instead of with the Secretary of the Senate.

            "Unfortunately, it’s clear that the Majority Leader does not intend to allow for a serious debate of alternative proposals to strengthen our campaign finance laws.  Instead of debating this flawed proposal to amend the Constitution, we should be taking up common-sense reforms of the kind proposed by Senators Tester and King. Both of their bills would improve our campaign finance system, and I believe both could get the support they need to become law. Further – and most important – neither would risk eroding the fundamental liberties that are the heritage of the American people.”

Read the ACLU letter here.