Senator Snowe has long been a strong advocate on Capitol Hill for campaign finance reform, backing the McCain-Feingold legislation and offering several improvements as legislation.
- Defining her position on Campaign Finance reform:“I believe we have an obligation to rid the system even of perceived corruption. Any perception that the laws we pass here are somehow tainted only serves to undermine confidence in the system, and ultimately, in citizen participation in the process.” (“Maine senators are co-leaders in campaign finance debate“)
- Introduced S. 93 (Advancing Truth and Accountability in Campaign Communications Act of 2001), to “require disclosure of certain disbursements made for electioneering communications“:“What I’m talking about here are broadcast advertisements the sole purpose of which is to influence federal elections, but that require no disclosure and have none of the restrictions that for decades have been placed on other forms of campaigning. These are broadcast ads that masquerade as informational or educational, but are really “stealth advocacy” ads for or against candidates.“ (Congressional Record, 1/22/2001 pp.S357-S358)“[our] approach is simple and straightforward. First, we require disclosure on all groups and individuals running broadcast ads within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of any election that mention the name of a federal candidate. And second, a ban on the use of union or corporate treasury money to pay for these ads. That’s what this boils down to, Mr. President. Disclosure, disclosure, disclosure. In fact, nothing in this bill prevents anyone from running any ads at any time saying anything they want. All we say is, if you spend more than $10,000 per year on these broadcast ads you can’t use union or corporation money. That’s the only ban on anything in this bill. And we require you to disclose who is bankrolling the ads if they give $500 or more. Under Snowe-Jeffords, unions and corporations still have a voice in federal elections through the appropriate avenue–a political action committee to which individuals voluntarily contribute up to the amount allowed by law. They just can’t use unlimited shareholder monies or money from union coffers to fund the ads–a logical extension of current law.“ (ibid.)“Certainly, people have a right to disagree with candidates, and even attack their positions. That is why nothing in this bill prevents people from doing so. All we say is that we ought to know who is paying for these ads, and that they should not be paid for with union or corporation money–like any other activity that is influencing a federal election. Again, the bill only requires disclosure for large donors to all groups spending more than $10,000 on ads running 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election. And it only bans union and corporation treasury money from funding such ads.“ (ibid.)