The Christian Coalition of America is sending a petition to President George W. Bush urging him to veto the campaign finance reform bill, which has the potential to silence non-profit organizations in future election campaigns.
The bill, which passed the Senate by a 59-to-41 vote Monday, is expected to face stiff opposition in the House, according to an April 3 New York Times article.
“Proposed campaign finance reform could prohibit us from getting people the educational materials needed to make informed decisions at election time,” wrote Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition’s founder and president. “Right now, congress is considering a law that could make free speech a crime.”
More than 1,600 people have signed the petition, according to the Coalition’s Web site. The date of its delivery to the White House was not specified.
“The motivations behind campaign finance reform may be commendable, but the restrictions on advocacy by groups like the Christian Coalition of America represent an infringement on the constitutional right to freedom of speech,” reads the petition.
“Campaign finance reform deserves widespread support within the Christian community, despite the misdirected cries of opposition from the religious right,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “The biblical witness warns us about the rich and powerful who sell ‘the poor for a pair of shoes’ and pursue their own selfish interest at the expense of orphans.”
Similar bills were passed by the House in 1998 and 1999 by overwhelming margins. This time, however, the McCain-Feingold bill with its call to ban unregulated contributions to political parties, faces powerful opposition. Leading the battle against the bill is House Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, who is known as a soft-money fund-raiser for the Republican Party.
“I’ll work as hard as I can to beat this [bill],” he said last week.
DeLay and his supporters are likely to amend the bill and force it into a House-Senate conference committee, where the bill’s opponents can take another try at killing it, the Times reported.
Alex Smirnov is BCE’s research associate.