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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 7, 1997
                        TO THE SPEAKER OF THE
                       HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                            April 7, 1997

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I ask the Congress to consider the enclosed requests for an FY 1997 supplemental and an FY 1998 budget amendment for the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The FEC is charged with guarding the integrity of our election process. I have sought to strengthen this important agency; its budget has increased from $21 million per year in 1993 to $28 million per year today. But the agency plainly lacks the resources it needs to keep pace with the rapidly rising volume of campaign spending and electoral activities. In fact, over the past 2 years, the Congress has appropriated for the FEC substantially less than I requested.

Today, commissioners of both parties have testified that the FEC is overworked, underfunded, and unable to address the many issues raised in recent elections. Campaign spending by candidates, soft money expenditures by parties, independent expenditures, and issue advocacy expenditures have exploded. As part of a bipartisan effort to restore the public trust in the way we finance elections to the Congress and the Presidency, I urge you to provide these additional funds for the FEC.

In addition, I urge the Congress to enact legislation that would strengthen the FEC as part of comprehensive campaign finance reform. The bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation introduced by Representatives Chris Shays and Marty Meehan and Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold includes several critical steps to strengthen the FEC, strengthening the agency's ability to stop improper practices and allowing random audits of campaigns.

The details of my budget requests are set forth in the enclosed letter from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I concur with his comments and observations.



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