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We appreciate your coming, Mr. Weeks, and we would like to ask you a few questions and let you go on your way.
In your raising the money, did you have a broad base of the number of your contributions? What was a breakdown of them? Were they large contributions, or medium, or small ?
Mr. WEEKS. I was chairman of the Republican national finance committee. I did nothing but attend to raising the money and directed where it should be sent. We have no report to make ourselves, because we have no bank account, as to what went into our coffers. We did not receive the money nor pay it out.
We raised money for the national committee, the congressional committee and the senatorial committee-three committees and we simply raised it by going to each State and saying, “Will you take a quota—a fair share of the sum total that we want to get," and we arrived at that quota by a formula method which fairly placed the burden on the different States, including four Territories.
As to the task of collecting the money, we tried to help the States, where they asked for help, or if they were not doing as well as we wanted them to on their quota. We would go in and urge them along and suggest ways and means of their doing their job to the best advantage.
As far as the size of the contributions, of course, they are limited by the Hatch Act, and in some respects, limited by State law. For example, in my own State, Massachusetts, we have a limitation there that is lower than the Hatch Act limitation. We, however, stressed in every possible way increasing the number of contributions, and I think did so successfully. I do not have the final figures, but my guess is that there will be well over 1 million individual contributions. For example, the State of Iowa-do you remember what the figure was! [Directing the question to assistant.] Is it proper for me to ask a question of one of my assistants? ?
The CHAIRMAN. Surely.
Mr. WEEKS. Do you remember the number of contributions from Iowa?
Mr. BACHER. Over 40,000.
Mr. WEEKS. In Iowa they in turn gave each county a quota. They have 99 counties, I think, in Iowa, and I think every single county went over the top on the quota that county owed to the State. They in their organizations made every possible effort to spread the load in order to get more and more people to contribute.
In my own State, Massachusetts, we ran about 100,000 contributions this year, which will be some 30,000 more than we have ever had on the books in Massachusetts. Our view is that because the larger contributions are getting fewer and fewer, the only way to finance the party is to spread the load and get more and more people interested. Does that answer your question?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Would you care to give an opinion, or would you say it was a good thing to spread the load to get more people to give $25 and $10 and so on?
Mr. WEEKS. I am a very firm believer in developing that process reaching that objective of getting more and more people interested.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, one of the problems that I think both of the parties are confronted with, and both of them have pointed out the difficulties attendant thereto-both Mr. Summerfield and Mr. Mitchell were quite anxious to discuss it and to do something about it—and that is this limit of $3 million with respect to national committees. Well, Mr. Williams testified here that the last Eisenhower broadcast cost $267,000 and Mr. Smith of the Volunteers for Stevenson, said that the Madison Square Garden Stevenson broadcast cost $155,000. In other words, two broadcasts cost almost $500,000. Each committee is limited to raising and obtaining $3 million, and with our estimates right now it is shown that on television and radio alone almost that much was spent. Do you feel that is a realistic limitation ?
Mr. WEEKS. I think it is completely unrealistic.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you feel that the creation of these other committees to spend money-without going to the good that comes from it, because we are of the opinion that the more groups you get interested in the political processes, more independent groups, the better it is for our democracy, but on the other hand having to delegate your authority to spend money to some of the other committees and authority which should lay in the national committee—do you think that is a good thing?
Mr. WEEKS. I do not believe in centralization generally, but in respect to political spending I would like to see the limit raised on the national committee so that it could do the job and you would have the show under one tent, so to speak, and you would get better administration of the work that is at hand. Does that answer your question?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, is does. And, conceivably, it might reduce the cost of the campaigns?
Mr. WEEKS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Although you did not spend the money, I have never met anyone yet in connection with raising money in a political contest that maintained all the money was spent wisely and intelligently. Did you think it is?
Mr. WEEKS. No.
Mr. Long. Could you tell us approximately how many people did contribute to these three committees that you were raising money for, sir?
Mr. WEEKS. I do not have any idea as to how many contributed direct to the three committees, because, for the most part, those three committees received their money through the agency of my committee from the State financial committees, so that I think when the final show-down comes, that, compared to the number of contributions received by the State finance committees, which would in each case be lumped, and then from that lump would be taken the share of the national, the senatorial, and the congressional. Compared with the sum total of the contributions received by all the State finance committees, the number of contributions received by these three national committees-congressional, senatorial and national-would be, I would say, very small. After the broadcast of Senator Nixon, numbers of checks would come in in small amounts, but I would doubt if we
would have it totaled, as far as the national committee goes a very substantial number—would we?
Mr. BACHER. I think it would be in excess probably of the 25,000 figure that the Nixon broadcast brought in.
Mr. WEEKS. Twenty-five thousand, as a guess, individual contributions to the Republican National Committee, which is the total you might receive when the final report is made, which, you see, is onefourth of the total we received in Massachusetts alone.
Mr. Long. Would you give us some idea as to what the size of those were and how they varied? Was most of your money in very small contributions or was it larger in, say, $3,000 to $5,000?
Mr. WEEKS. Most of the money which came into the national committee would be in small contributions, as I have just described, resulting from people getting interested in broadcasts and what not, but, of course, the checks from the States on account of their quotas would be substantial sums—some smaller and some larger. Take New York, for instance, with a quota of $700,000, you might get $10,000 today, and $40,000 tomorrow, and so on.
Mr. LONG. Do you think the present law limiting the amount any individual may contribute to any political committee to $5,000 is adequate? I realize that economic factors and tax factors have served to limit that amount to even less than the $5,000 imposed by the statute, but do you think any change should be made in that respect, sir?
Mr. WEEKS. No, I do not think you should raise the limit. I think the limit is all right for individual contributions. As a practical matter, I think the $5,000 limit-
The CHAIRMAN. $3,000.
Mr. WEEKS. Because of the gift tax, I think a contribution of $3,000 is all right, as a practical matter.
Mr. Long. $3,000 is all right?
Mr. WARNER. In connection with the limit of $5,000 which we have presently on individuals, do I understand you, sir, to mean that you feel that $5,000 is sufficient for national political purposes in a single calendar year, as apparently the law was intended originally to do, or should the individual be allowed to give a $5,000 limit to each of several committees, or each of several candidates?
Mr. WEEKS. Well, I think my statement would stand that the $5,000 limitation is sufficient and should stand, but I do not think it would be advisable to say that you have got to limit that to one committee. For example, a man might give his limit to the national committee, you certainly would not want to say he is—we will say in the election of men to the Senate and to the House, you certainly would not want to tell him he could not give to those committees for that particular purpose.
Mr. WARNER. Well, the suggestion was made by one of the gentlemen who has appeared previously that in his opinion $5,000 would be sufficient for any individual in an attempt to inform or express himself, let us say, in connection with a national campaign for presidential electors—presidential candidates—that he felt, therefore, an individual should be allowed to give a total of only $5,000 toward the election of a presidential candidate for any purpose, whether to the candidate or any committee or committees supporting that
candidate, and that in connection with the election of Senators, he would suggest possibly a thousand dollars or some lower limit, and in connection with the election of Representatives, possibly $100 or some lower limit. I wonder if you have given any thought along those lines?
Mr. WEEKS. Well, as a practical matter, the $5,000 limitation stands as far as the presidential campaign is concerned. That is what it is today. Of course, that is what he can give to the national committee. The only other two committees, congressional and senatorial, no, I would not be for lowering the present limitation to those committees.
Mr. WARNER. I think the records of some of the prior committees would show that on some occasions individuals have, through their ability to give to the various committees, or candidates, sometimes, and in a single campaign given as much as $80,000 or $90,000. I wonder if you felt that was a good or a bad influence on the elective processes where an individual can contribute to that extent?
Mr. WEEKS. Well, I assume we are talking now about the national picture, aren't we?
Mr. WARNER. Yes, sir.
Mr. WARNER. No; this is national candidates—Federal candidates, we will call them.
Mr. WEEKS. Well, if we are speaking on the national level I do not see how you could have any ability to give any such figure as you have just described.
Mr. WARNER. I am referring to the past hearings—some of the studies made by some of the committees in the past. I believe in 1944 one of the House committees on campaign expenditures made a study of family groups, for example, and they showed some rather sizable individual contributions in excess, of course, of $5,000 in the various national campaigns. There were contributions, for example, to Representatives, and there were contributions to Senators, and there were contributions to several political committees in support of the presidential candidate, so that the $5,000 limitation on an individual was greatly exceeded.
Now, this gentleman I am thinking about, Mr. Smith, made the suggestion that he felt at least $5,000 would be necessary as a limit for any individual to give toward the presidential campaign; he felt $5,000 was realistic, and if any attempt was made to control the expenditures of an individual, that they be allowed at least $5,000 for the presidential campaign and possibly a lower limit in connection with senatorial or congressional campaigns.
Mr. WEEKS. Well, I am not certain if I understand the question. You mentioned there family groups. I do not think it is pertinent to discuss groups. We are talking about individual contributions; are we not?
Mr. WARNER. Yes; that is correct, sir.
Mr. WEEKS. Well, as far as an individual is concerned, I would say the law is specific today on a top level of giving. I do not know, insofar as the three committees that I have been concerned with, how you can raise the level of $5,000 to the national, $5,000 to the congressional, and $5,000 to the senatorial, and if a man gives additionally, or wants to give additionally, he can send it to a State committee. We have actually in Massachusetts a $1,000 limitation. A man can only
give in Massachusetts a thousand dollars under our State law, and I have seen contributions come from outside the State, specifying that the money be used in the State campaign, and subject to that, the check would not be larger than $1,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Weeks, in connection with your Massachusetts State law, does you law in Massachusetts apply to the primary, as well as the general election?
Mr. WEEKS. No; it does not. I am quite sure I am correct on that. I am not an expert on the statutes, but I am very certain that the campaign does not begin under the law until the candidates have been nominated, and then you start to make your reports.
The CHAIRMAN. We have had a considerable amount of testimony in connection with the primaries and, as you undoubtedly know, none of the Federal statutes apply to the primaries with one or two exceptions. I think the Taft-Hartley Act prohibits contributions by either a corporation or labor organizations in the primaries, but the primaries are not covered, either in the congressional, senatorial, or presidential preference primaries. Do you feel that that is an area that would bear some coverage on the part of the Federal statutes?
Mr. WEEKS. Now, I, Mr. Chairman, frankly have not given it any thought. Do I understand, as far as the Federal statute goes, there is no reference to primary contests or preconvention contests?
The CHAIRMAN. Right. No limitation and no reports.
Mr. WEEKS. Well, I think that the natural law of how much you can give in such a situation is probably as effective deterrent on too much money being spent as any specific legislation. In fact, I think that is true in the over-all picture. You could remove the limitation of 3 million or raise it, or have no limitation whatsoever, except as applied to the individual contributor and the natural ability to get money in total amount is limited. I mean you can get so much and that is all there is to it, and I consider myself somewhat of an expert on how much you can get. You can go so far and that is all you can drag out of them, that is, a prospective contributor.
The CHAIRMAN. Yet the fact that no accounting is required and no publicity, of course, is given—there is no publicity given on the sources of contributions in a hotly contested primary election in many States, that, in effect is the election. Now, in your State of Massachusetts you recently had a very hotly contested senatorial race, the general election, but in a State like Maine or Vermont or Georgia, or most of the Southern States, the primary always determines, or has in the past, determined the election.
It would seem to me that a candidate for the Senate, running in Maine or in Georgia, or one of the other Southern States which has been pretty much one-sided, would have a distinct advantage over a candidate runing in Massachusetts where every nickel contributed to both candidates must be accounted for and reported, because the contest is determined in the general election rather than the primary election.
Mr. WEEKS. You mean in a State like one of the Southern States where the elections in many respects are oftentimes settled in the primary?
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
Mr. WEEKS. That because there may be no State law regarding publicity or limitation or so on, that he has an advantage over a man in