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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1952
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES,
Washington, D.C. The committeė met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Hale Boggs (chairman) presiding
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. The first witness this morning will be Mr. Clifton H. Scott, of Little Rock, Ark,
STATEMENT OF CLIFTON H. SCOTT, DENVER, COLO. Mr. Scott. My name is Clifton H. Scott, now of Denver, Colo., but formerly of Little Rock, Ark., until about 90 days ago.
I guess that I am rather presumptuous to come before this committee because I asked the privilege through Wilbur Mills, my good friend, but I thought possibly the experience that we have had in Arkansas during several campaigns might be a little helpful.
In 1936 our State was given a quota of $31,000. At that time I was doing public relations work, lobbying work, you might say-sort of a parasite on society here in Washington. I was head of the National Drainage, Levee, and Irrigation Association, which association refunded and refinanced all these districts throughout the country. Then Senator Robinson designated me primarily to raise money for the party in Arkansas, and that was to be done strictly on a nonprofessional basis. They gave us this quota of $31,000. I knew that it was entirely too small an amount unless we could project a grassroots campaign and educate the people that they should give something to their party.
Well, we raised $157,000 at a little less than 7 percent and remitted $147,000 to the Biltmore Hotel in New York,
Mr. KEATING. In what year was that?
Mr. SCOTT. 1936. Arkansas at that time was a poor State economically, although there are some people in Arkansas with money, and we have made a lot of progress.
At that time in 1936 we had just come out of the depths of the depression and our people were appreciative, but we had to educate them to give to their party. We dignified this approach by having United States Senator Robinson and Governor-elect Carl Bailey make a State-wide radio address. That added dignity to the campaign.
Unfortunately, today, whether it be President-elect Eisenhower or Governor Stevenson or a United States Senator, or a candidate for the governor in any State, those men have a tendency to pass the money-raising to Bill Jones, and it is a hard task, a difficult thing.
They leave it too much to the other man to raise the money and then they go about their business.
Personally, I do not think that there should be a limit on money spent in a national campaign, whether it be $30 million, $40 million, $50 million, $60 million, or $70 million. You can easily spend that amount with dignity and with restraint and with honesty, all the way through from the first dollar to the last one.
I think that television has been a great blessing to the American people even with a lot of its irritating features. I think that the last campaign illustrated that. I presume with 17 million television sets possibly 50 to 70 million people listened to this campaign. I think young people this time—and women-more than ever in the history of the country took an interest in politics.
I do not think that there should be a limit to thọ amount spent. I think that we should be awfully zealous in the manner in which we raise this money.
I think—and I advocated to both President-elect Eisenhower and Governor Stevenson, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Ruml, Mr. Adams, and Sinclair Weeks—that we should raise the money on a nonpartisan approach. Governor Stevenson should not have appealed to the people just to give to the Democratic Party. President-elect Eisenhower should not have appealed to the American people just to give to the Republican Party. The appeal should be democratic to the extent that they should encourage people to give to the party of his or her choice. I do not think that either party should have the advantage over the other in financing. I have never wanted that in my lifetime, either locally or nationally.
I think that we should have enough money so that through the radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and all mediums of publicity we should be able to carry our message to the American people and then let them vote for the man and party of their choice, the party that they think will give the best government.
Mr. KEATING. Do you think that the Congress should enact such legislation ?
Mr. Scott. No, sir. In the first place, you could not get full cooperation, and you could not expect the television industry and the radio industry and the motion-picture industry and other mediums to enter into a campaign of that character unless it was spontaneous and the parties took the initiative.
They do that with regard to infantile paralysis. We do that in the heart and cancer drives. We do it for community funds.
Mr. KEATING. But in the eyes of the general public those funds to fight diseases are in quite a different category from political campaign funds.
Mr. Scott. They are and they should be.
Mr. KEATING. You say it will raise the level of political campaigning by this approach, and it is a commendable purpose, but I would think that it could be brought about better by education, education by those conducting the political campaigns.
Mr. SCOTT. To reach the most people by the quickest and shortest route.
I say to you that I can recall when they started the drive for infantile paralysis and they raised $1,000,000 the first year. That was only 20 years ago. I happened to be a field organizer one year
and made 22 States for them about 10 years ago. I have seen the sum come up to $50 million and $60 million just by small contributions.
Mr. KEATING. If you can raise five times the amount that you are designated to raise, are you irretrievably committed to the Democratic Party?
Mr. Scott. No, sir, I am not. In fact, I did not even control my own family. My two daughters and son-in-law voted for Eisenhower and I lost my vote on Governor Stevenson. I had a good reason.
Now, I am going back to the fund raising for these diseases. What is more essential to the American political life today than decency in financing the campaigns? Both parties have been guilty. Neither of them is clean from that angle. When the going is tough and the chips are down in the last 30 or 45 days of a campaign, whether in a governor's race, a congressional race, a United States Senate race, or that of President, men who are responsible for raising that money to fight that campaign to a finish will take money which in their hearts and souls they know they should not take.
Every man on this committee, every man in the United States Senate, at some time has taken money he wishes he had not accepted. That is just a weakness of human nature. I have been guilty myself. I have raised a lot of money. I raised money for John Miller's campaign when he was elected Senator. I raised money when we got spanked good and proper by Fulbright 8 years ago. I raised money for Senator Robinson. I have raised it for two or three governors races, and I helped in the national campaigns. I did it all on a nonprofessional basis.
Mr. KEATING. Did you raise any money in the last campaign?
Mr. SCOTT. I did not. I hammered hard the chairmen of the Republican and Democratic Committees with my ideas, and you should see the letters that I got from them, and the National Broadcasting System and the Twentieth Century Motion Picture Co., and so forth, why they approved of the plan that I had in mind, the plan for a nonpartisan basis, but they did not execute it.
Now, I think that forums are fine, but I do not believe that there should be any free time for Members of Congress, either Democrats or Republicans, to espouse the philosophy they believe, a philosophy which might redound to their party.
Mr. KEATING. Have you heard of any television or radio station offering free time to candidates for Congress?
Mr. Scott. Not during the campaign, but I think in between, from time to time, perhaps some time has been accepted. I think it should never be done because I think it is sort of a subsidy, in a way, that is unhealthy, especially if it should ever become general practice.
I think that each party should have enough money at all times to pay for television and radio addresses by the individuals.
Mr. KARSTEN. You mean in the off period? Mr. Scott. I ask you gentlemen, Has it ever been known that Members of Congress, at any time–Senators or Congressmen-have received any free time and then the radio station would give the other Member some time to answer ?
Mr. KEATING. That has happened.
Mr. Scott. You do not think they do it altogether for the good of the Government? I am speaking now of the management of these different facilities.
Mr. KEATING. They say that they do it in order to interest the general public in public questions. They say they do it as a public service. If they do have a political debate, even in the off times, and give both sides equal opportunity, offhand I do not see any objection to that.
Mr. Scott. I can recall the time when railroads would swear that they were not guilty of any intent or spirit when they gave passes to every decent lawyer in the country to ride on their railroads.
Mr. KEATING. That is quite a different thing. What you are objecting to is having radio or television stations give equal time to both candidates.
Mr. Scott. I am not talking on the general issue of economics and things like that where four men get up and talk, but I am talking about you as an individual, where Congressman Boggs is an individual, who will possibly expound one political philosophy, and then they will have to give me time to answer it.
Every person has a little degree of vanity and egotism in him. All of us do. We are weak and when we can be televised all over this country, or when our voice is listened to all over this country, it does a little something to us. We do not do these things deliberately. We are going to hesitate a lot of times, but we are going to act just like we want to in some of these matters. I believe that I can say that without being called a smartie.
Mr. KEATING. I would say that hesitation to act would apply to both sides. I think that the objection might be sound if it applied to some station giving time to only the one side for the presentation of its views, but so long as they give it to both sides, I would not think that your objection was well-founded.
Mr. SCOTT. Let me make another point or two and I will be through.
I think that there should be a limitation, though, on the contribution of any one family to a campaign. I do not think that any one family should be able to give to three, four, five, six, or seven committees $5,000 each. I think that that should be limited. I think that a lot of men could give $5,000 as easily as I could give $25, and have no idea in mind except what they think is good government. I think many contributions were made for $5,000 or $10,000 this campaign by sincere businessmen who were uneasy about, we will say, Government to the extent that they wrote their checks easier than I wrote my little check for $100, 10 times easier, and had no motives whatsoever.
There are too many of them who are guilty of making contributions from a selfish standpoint, just like we have had them in Arkansas in the governors' race, particularly from the machinery companies and companies like that. I do not think business as a group should give. I do not think that a union should give. I think it is very immoral, unfair, and undemocratic for a union leader like Mr. Green, a man that I respected, and Mr. Murray, or any of those men to give $500,000, or a quarter of a million for any party. I think it is wrong.
In the first place, they should take the initiative and educate the 15,000,000 members to give to the party of his or her choice, and in that way they will raise more money and do it in a democratic manner, and the member of the union will have some dignity and get a kick in giving direct to the party of his or her choice. I think that there should be a limitation on a union giving to any party in a campaign. They do it because it gives them prestige and power. When the time
comes they move in with their checkers, and they talk awful tough to men in high places about legislation. It is just human nature. I think it is immoral. I do not think it is fair, and I think it is undemocratic.
I would like to read just two or three short paragraphs from a letter dated 1936 from Forbes Morgan, the treasurer of the Democratic Party:
When I accepted the position of treasurer of the Democratic Party I felt that I would have to depend upon small contributions to support the campaign because other avenues were closed to us. You have shown very clearly that small contributions can be raised to produce very large sums at a very low cost. I understand the actual cost of your campaign is approximately 7 percent, which is far below the average cost for raising money. I think that you can be proud of what you have done, and I can testify with real pleasure to the remarkable way in which you have handled your campaign.
Now, here is a quotation from Carl Byoir, who in 1936 was general director of the Roosevelt electors. He says:
Last Friday I had opportunity to discuss with the President the accomplishments of the State finance directors in the Roosevelt electors. While, as you know, the President could not take any part in the raising of the campaign fund, he did take a great deal of interest in making of the budget for this fund and in the various plans to meet the budget. The President has asked me to say to you that he is deeply appreciative of the splendid work you have done in Arkansas in helping to raise the campaign fund, and that he wants you to know personally that he feels that securing a fund in this manner is not only an effective way of raising money, but also an effective way of assuring active support of hundreds of thousands of individual contributors.
The Republicans and the Democrats that supported this campaign practiced that in many localities. Take the Republican Party in California, Iowa, and Massachusetts. They did a grand job in getting millions of small contributions, but it was too localized. The Democrats did likewise. It was not a Nation-wide campaign. And I say this to you gentlemen: If television, radio, motion pictures, all groups, , were cooperative in the spirit of raising money that we did for infantile paralysis and these other fine things that they have been so instrumental in in making it a success and putting it on a nonpartisan basis, and if the men at the top who are going to get the greatest prestige, power, and satisfaction of winning--and that is what the President, the candidate, does if they would go to the American people and put it on that basis, I think that from 4 to 8 years from now we could probably be raising $40,000,000, $60,000,000, or $80,000,000 from $1, $5, $15, $25, and $100 contributions, and a great many $2,500 and $5,000 contributions would be given in good spirit.
So, I think that you have to grass-root it. You cannot have a limit. You cannot say $10,000,000. You cannot say $20,000,000. You cannot say $30,000,000 on a Nation-wide scale.
Congressman Boggs, I know a little about Louisiana, and Arkansas, adjoining Louisiana. I will say that the expenditure of $25,000 30 years ago in Louisiana or Arkansas conveyed an impression of more power in the hands of a few people that could deliver votes than an expenditure of $100,000 or $150,000 today. Today we are spending that money through television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and really in educating the people.
The day is passing fast where an individual in Arkansas or in Louisiana, or any other State, can carry votes around in his pocket.