Resolution on Campaign Finance Reform
Adopted by the JCPA Plenum
February 24, 1998
Fort Lauderdale, FL
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has long been concerned with the strength of our democratic institutions, and has encouraged voting and reapportionment rights. Consistent with these concerns, the JCPA in 1994 spoke out in favor of campaign finance reform proposals then current, including additional public support for campaigns and against so called "soft money" - unlimited contributions to political parties.
There have been significant changes since 1994, including developments associated with increasing amounts of money expended in political campaigns. Substantial public disillusionment has emerged as a result of the pervasive need of candidates to spend a major portion of their time raising money. The prevailing perception, if not the reality, is that our elected officials are overly beholden to monied interests. Potential candidates for office without personal financial wealth are discouraged from running. The public has responded in part by steadily decreasing levels of voting and political interest.
The JCPA applauds the decision of the Congressional leadership to debate and vote upon the most prominent of the current legislative proposals, known as the McCain-Feingold Bill. The proposed legislation would stop soft money, make the airwaves more accessible to candidates and end or limit other abuses. Without necessarily endorsing any particular provision of the bill, the JCPA urges an open debate of this problem which will present an opportunity for the Jewish Community and others to consider appropriate support for reform, which will strengthen support for the democratic process.