THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Salt Lake City, Utah)
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION
February 27, 1998
To the Members of the Federal Election Commission:
Yesterday's defeat of comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation in the Senate makes it even more imperative that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) act to end the soft money system.
On June 4, 1997, I petitioned the FEC to act within its current statutory authority to end the soft money system. Your General Counsel, Lawrence Noble, has concluded that the FEC does, in fact, have the legal authority to act. This would be a major breakthrough for reform. I understand you have asked the General Counsel to explore other options -- but the inability of the Congress to act on this vital public matter underscores how urgent it is that the FEC proceed without delay.
The rules governing soft money are principally the legacy of decades of decisions by the FEC. You have it in your power to act now to end this system. If no action is taken, then in coming years the fundraising arms race that has consumed both parties will only worsen.
The Senate's failure to pass campaign finance reform legislation means the most realistic next steps for reform will come from the actions of regulatory agencies, acting within their legal authority, to renew our democracy. I thank the FEC for the steps it has taken thus far and urge you to press forward to end the soft money system.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON THE WHITE HOUSE