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period between October 1 and election day. Automatically this would cut expenditures. It would moreover tend to a beneficial change in the way campaigns are waged. I have long been convinced that the candidates for President owe it to the people to follow the precedent of the Lincoln-Douglas debate. From six to a dozen debates or discussions between the candidates, carefully arranged in major cities across the country, carried by radio and television and fully reported by the press, would enlighten the voters concerning the positions of the candidates and their parties as they are not enlighted by the torrents of words now poured out. I suppose that may be one of the reasons why no such debates are arranged. I am well aware that the temptation to candidates to try to win by platitudes, generalities, and obscuring issues, in short by seeming to be all things to all men. Nevertheless, the people are entitled to something better.
In a shorter campaign we could expect the presidential candidates to express their own ideas more or less in their own words. I speak from long experience and close observation when I say that it is impossible for any man to make as many speeches as Messrs. Eisenhower and Stevenson made in the last campaign-or as I made in some of my campaigns--and to do a thoroughly good job. I say this with full knowledge of Governor Stevenson's remarkable achievement in his speeches. He is the only candidate in my memory who might be reasonably content to be judged by his campaign speeches rather than his speeches on other occasions. Yet, obviously, even Mr. Stevenson had to depend on speech writers more and more as the campaign wore on. No matter how hard the candidate tries, the indefinite multiplication of speeches makes it harder to work out a thoughtful program and present it coherently and effectively. I am seriously of the opinion that the people generally would pay far more attention to a limited number of speeches than they now do when they are overwhelmed with words. In my personal experience in this campaign, the longer it lasted, the less did Eisenhower and Stevenson enthusiasts seem to know just what their heroes were saying.
As for myself and presumably other small party candidates, our position is different. We can't afford much helpunless we are as relatively well financed as Henry Wallace in 1948. Our speeches aren't widely carried and so we can repeat them in substance at least. Indeed, we have to repeat them since our ideas are not already common coin among our hearers.
What I am saying is addressed to the argument that long campaigns are necessary to arouse the voters. They are not. Often they have the opposite tendency. Radio and television audiences tend to fall off as the campaigns go on. It is noteworthy that Britain, with a campaign limited to 4 or 5 weeks and with scarcely any radio or television time, in a general election gets out în excess of 80 percent of the vote. We go around congratulating ourselves on our improvement because in 1952 we got out around 68 or 69 percent of the vote this after all the tumult, the wasteful expenditures, and the wear and tear on candidates.
It is a tribute to Messrs. Eisenhower and Stevenson and to American travel and electronic facilities that they survive, but it is outrageous that we should submit candidates for the most important job in the world to so grueling an ordeal. My first proposal is, then, that the length of the campaign should be cut in half.
My second is that the presidential and vice-presidential candidates should be made personally responsible for centralizing the raising and spending of funds. That is to say, they should designate someone responsible to them whose approval would be necessary before the activity of any committee in raising or spending money would be legal. This person in each party should be responsi. ble for consolidated reports of receipts and expenditures. He might be the chairman of the party committee or someone especially designated in whom independent committees would have confidence. He should certainly be in the closest possible touch with the candidates. Only under some such arrangement can any effective limitation on total campaign expenditures or the size of individual gifts be achieved.
My third suggestion is that in a democracy it is the business of the State through government to see to it that citizens have adequate information on which to vote. I should therefore require that, as part of the price for the in. estimable boon of a license to use one or more of a limited number of air channels, radio and television companies should be obliged to give X hours of good listening and viewing time during the campaign to the two candidates for high office. This is done smoothly and equably now by certain stations in New York and
Wisconsin and perhaps elsewhere. During the campaign, recognition should be given within each State to every party on the ballot of the State, but it is not necessary to give equal time to all parties. By far the larger part of the time should go to the major parties, and between them it should be divided equally.
Beyond that, your committee should consider proposals for joint Federal and State action to distribute in some fashion to all registered voters basic information on party platforms and candidates. There is a precedent for this, I be lieve, in the procedure of the State of Oregon.
If this minimum of information can thus be provided, it would be fair rather drastically to limit further expenditures, especially in the field of radio and television. I do not think either the public or the companies would object to this limitation, since I am persuaded that much money is wasted now on radio and perhaps on television. Listeners, or prospective listeners, are bored, alienated rather than educated.
Limitations should be on the total amount of money to be spent and upon the total size of any individual gift to all committees combined. The present loopholes of the laws should be closed, and the laws should be enforced. I have no definite opinion on the precise amount of the maximum, but think it might well be in excess of the present sum permitted to party committees.
I doubt if publicity will be sufficient for the control of expenditures.
Finally, may I say that I am trying to view favorably the idea that there should be a commission of eminent citizens which would pass upon charges of libel and slander in campaigns, literature, after a complaint and impartially publicize the true facts. The mere existence of such a committee might have a salutary effect.
These principles should be applied also to primary campaigns, especially if more and more such campaigns are to determine presidential nominees. Sincerely yours,
EDITOR & PUBLISHER,
New York, N. Y., December 4, 1952. Mr. WALTER L. FITZPATRICK, Jr., Chief Investigator, Special Committee Investigating Campaign Expenditures,
Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. FITZPATRICK : Other commitments prevent my accepting the invitation to appear voluntarily before your committee. This statement, therefore, is in response to your request for my views on certain aspects of the problem before you—with particular reference to publication of some campaign material.
It is probably within the prerogatives of Congress, there being no court decision to the contrary, to limit the amount of money spent by political parties in an election campaign. On the other hand, I do not think it is within the power of Congress to restrict, limit, or otherwise dictate what an individual may say or publish on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate or party.
When the Bill of Rights was written and adopted, there were no newspapers as we know them today.' "Freedom of the press,” guaranteed in the first amendment to the Constitution, meant simply that the right to use a press—the implement, not the product—was guaranteed to the people. The people, therefore, were promised the freedom to own, borrow, hire, or use a printing press to publish their views.
The courts have never upset that interpretation in 150 years in spite of the fact that limitations of libel and decency have been superimposed.
Our large newspapers and magazines today are possible because of high-speed composing machines and high-speed presses. But the constitutional guaranty still applies to the press—the right of the people to use the device. And I don't think that right can be limited even under the guise of controlling campaign expenditures, no matter how desirable that might appear.
Representative Clare Hoffman has said that editorial comment in newspapers on behalf of a candidate should be limited the same as an individual is limited in the size of his campaign contributions. To do so would be a direct violation of the constitutional guaranty. The power to limit editorial comment or content contains also the power to prohibit such comment or content; and, certainly, you will concede that Congress has no such authority.
It has been suggested that labor unions and other groups should be limited in the political pamphlets they prepare and distribute for a candidate or party or cause. I believe that for Congress to dictate to the CIO or AFL or an individual union-or the NAM, chamber of commerce, or any individual or corporationhow little, if any, they can spend for publication of their political views also would be a direct violation of the constitutional guaranty.
For example, if Congress claims the privilege of telling an organization what quantity of material it can publish, doesn't it naturally follow that Congress • might attempt to dictate the quality of the material published? If Congress believes it has the authority to limit the volume of comment and opinion published by a union in pamphlet form, doesn't that imply that Congress believes it can impose the same limitations on all union-owned publications? And, if it can limit debate in pamphlets and union publications, cannot Congress also limit debate in all publications, including newspapers and magazines of general circulation?
I believe that your committee and Congress will be treading on dangerous ground if it attempts to limit the publication of opinions on any subject. I doubt that it would be sustained by the courts; but, if it were, it would open the doors to further restrictions on the quantity and quality of published material, and ultimately would mean the end of a free press as we know it.
We have a highly literate and intelligent population in the United States. It is my opinion that your committee should do everything in its power to foster debate and the expression of opinion rather than try to find ways to limit them.
This country has thrived on freedom of speech and the press—freedom of expression by voice or in print-and we should not try to alter such a basic process of a free peoples. Cordially yours,
ROBERT U. BROWN, Editor.
STATEMENT BY JACK KROLL, DIRECTOR, CIO POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE The CIO Political Action Committee is a committee of the CIO charged with the political education and organization of members of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, a trade-union body composed of 6,000,000 working men and women in the basic industries of the United States.
It consists of the president of the CIO, who is the chairman of the politicalaction committee, and national union presidents and secretary-treasurers appointed by the president. Its policies are determined annually by the CIO convention, which reviews the work of the year past and sets the goals for the year ahead.
As director of the committee. it is my function to carry out the policies set by the CIO convention and the members of the CIO Political Action Committee and to serve as the administrative head of the committee in its daily operations.
The purposes and policies of this committee are best set forth in the resolution passed by the last CIO convention in Atlantic City, December 14, 1952, which reads in part as follows:
"In the basic conviction that the entire program of the CIO is the program that embodies the hopes and needs of the American people, we rededicate ourselves to our program of political action.
“We authorize and direct the CIO Political Action Committee to continue to direct and expand the political activities of the CIO and to service, direct, and coordinate the work of the political-action committees of the State and city councils, to provide all possible aid and cooperation to the political agencies of the international unions, to carry on the task of training and political education on behalf of the CIO, and to do all other things necessary and proper to the accomplishment of the political objectives of the CIO.
"The CIO is further directed to continue to act on an independent and nonpartisan basis, giving support to the progressive forces in the two major parties based upon their platforms and records.
"We further authorize and direct the CIO Political Action Committee to cooperate as broadly as possible with the political agencies of other labor organizations and with farmers, consumers, church groups, small-business men, professional men, white-collar workers, minority groups, and all other citizens of good will dedicated to the same ideals of public service and welfare as the CIO.
“The collection of voluntary contributions of at least $1 yearly from each CIO member for PAC shall continue on a regular yearly basis within each affiliate of the CIO, and we hereby launch the 1953 dollar drive and call upon each member of our affiliated organizations to participate."
The CIO Political Action Committee files with the required authorities at the proper time a full accounting of its receipts and its expenditures. Its books are audited periodically, not only to assure full compliance with the applicable
laws but also to assure that the handling of all funds is in accordance with the highest ethical and accounting standards.
The CIO Political Action Committee has been in continuous existence since July 10, 1943, and operates on a year-round basis from offices presently located in Washington, D. C.
I During the period the CIO-PAC has been in existence we have witnessed an enormous growth in the cost of political campaigns, and we have witnessed additional restrictions placed upon the rights of trade-unions to participate in politics. I refer, of course, to that section of the Taft-Hartley Act which prohibits the use of union funds in connection with a Federal election.
While similar restrictions are, in theory, placed upon corporations, the equality of such restrictions is more apparent than real. Corporations are private institurions organized for the sake of making a profit. Trade-unions are voluntary associations formed for the purpose of benefiting the economic and social status of their members. The fact that officers of corporations and officers of unions bargain together concerning wages and hours and working conditions does not serve, nor should it serve, to equate the status of the two groups in the imposition of restrictions. Neither is there any equation to be found in the fact that officers of trade-unions may, like officers of corporations, make individual contributions, nor in the fact that members of unions have the same freedom as directors of corporations. Attempts to establish such equation are merely weak attempts to justify the influence of wealth in our electoral processes.
Trade-union members expect and instruct their officers to engage in those activities which will achieve the social and economic ends they seek, and these activities have traditionally included advice and information concerning political issues and candidates for public office. These activities are, in turn, subject to the constant scrutiny of trade-union members who have the opportunity to express their disapproval or approval and to revise or reverse their instructions to their officers.
Corporation executives are under no similar compulsions and the purposes of their charters or certificates of incorporation differ vastly in their intent and purpose from the constitutions of trade-union organizations.
The CIO Political Action Committee, therefore, believes that the section of the Taft-Hartley law that applies to political activities of trade-unions is, in effect, an unwarranted and one-sided interference with the rights of trade-union members to express themselves politically through organizations and means of their own choice.
The unreality of the restriction is made further apparent by an examination of expenditures by corporations in recent campaigns for so-called institutional advertising. In Ohio in 1950, testimony before the Senate Rules Committee showed, expenditures of this nature equaled or exceeded the amount reported spent for direct political purposes. These advertisements were, by all realistic standards, political in nature, lacking only the name of the candidate. They argued controversial political points of view with direct bearing on the campaign in progress. They were paid for by corporation funds and, presumably, were carried on the books as business expenses and therefore offset against taxable income.
I call the attention of the committee to the fact that the Trade Disputes Act, passed in Great Britain in 1924, contained restrictions similar to those in the Taft-Hartley Act. Later Parliament found them to be unreal and unwarranted and they were repealed without any subsequent attempt to reinstitute them, even by conservative Parliaments.
II I suggest that the major weakness of laws covering the conduct of campaigns and elections lies in their multiplicity and the opportunities presented for concealment and evasion. The remedy would seem to lie as much in their thorough overhauling and codification, as in the addition of new restrictions.
It is my view that the primary objective of such a codification should be the centralizing and defining of authority over campaign expenditures.
Numerous committees, all devoted to the election of the same candidate, but headed by different individuals, all operating in their own fashion, have become a familiar pattern on the American political scene. This practice results in a candidate reporting that he spent less than $2,000 to win election when actually several million dollars were spent in behalf of that purpose. Such legal fiction is responsible for much of the cynicism with which American citizens view politics.
It is my belief that candidates should, insofar a possible, be made responsible for reporting all expenditures made on their behalf and should also, insofar as practicable, be made responsible for the observance of limitations on expenditures. This could be accomplished by a provision in the law outlawing expenditures without the written consent of the candidate. Any person violating this provision could, of course, be prosecuted. The candidate would be in a position to report and should be required to report all expenditures made with his written consent.
I am not prepared at this time to estimate the dollars-and-cents limitation that should be placed upon political expenditures. But I believe that such limitations will have very little real value unless the total spent by all participants in any given campaign is so limited. This should include the cost of the institutional advertising mentioned previously when conducted during the course of the campaign.
There is another limitation which is badly needed. This is one which would check the practice of wealthy families making multiple contributions to numerous campaigns and a variety of political committees. I would limit to $5,000 the total amount that any individual may contribute or spend for political purposes in any year. As a part of the same limitation, I would require that only citizens of voting age may make such contributions and expenditures.
The major item of cost in a political campaign is the presentation of the candidates' views and record to the voters. Newspaper advertisements, radio programs, television programs and literature of various sorts constitute the principal cost which must be borne by a candidate for public office.
I suggest to the committee that this fact carries with it the implication that the channels of communication in some manner fail to meet their obligations to provide fully and impartially the information required by the general public.
I am not prepared at this time to suggest a specific remedy for this situation. It may be the committee will conclude that campaign costs, as well as the costs of the actual election, are legitimate public expenses that should be financed by public funds. Certainly such a method, with proper safeguards for the rights of candidates expressing minority views, wolud be preferable to a system under which private wealth can exercise undue influence on the election of public officials.
IV The growing cost of political campaigns is a matter of great concern to the CIO Political Action Committee. We view it as a limitation on the availability of the best qualified persons for public office at a time when the country requires the best its citizens can offer.
Wealth, or access to wealth, must never become the criterion for judging the availability of a person as a candidate. It must never be allowed to overshadow the compelling requirements of honesty of purpose, devotion to country, independence of thought, and high ethical standards.
Traditional American political practice requires free access to the voting public by all candidates regardless of the condition of their purses. To permit the complexities of modern life to corrupt this practice would be to permit corrosion of the democratic system.
The CIO Political Action Committee will be happy to offer this committee any cooperation or assistance it can to the end that elections may be kept as open and as free as possible.
WRITTEN COMMENTS BY JAMES L. McDEVITT, DIRECTOR, LABOR'S LEAGUE FOR POLITI.
CAL EDUCATION WITH REGARD TO STAFF MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES, 1952
WASHINGTON 5, D. O. 1. Federal Corrupt Practices Act should apply to all political organizations engaged in Federal elections.
2. We favor full publicity on all expenditures made in any political campaign involving Federal offices.