To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

South Carolina's 2nd congressional district special election, 2001

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2001 South Carolina 2nd congressional district special election was held on December 18, 2001 to select a Representative for the 2nd congressional district to serve out the remainder of the term for the 107th Congress. The special election resulted from the death of 16-term Republican incumbent Floyd Spence on August 16, 2001. Joe Wilson, a state senator from Lexington County and a former aide to Spence, won the Republican primary and went on to win the general election against Democratic challenger Brent Weaver.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    3 876
  • The History of Finance in American Political Campaigns
  • Political Rules Of The Road
  • 30 Years Later: A Look Back at the Original Sentencing Guidelines
  • Senator Judd Gregg: "The Role of the Senate"
  • PBS39 15th Congressional Debate


>> Good evening. I'm David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.It's a pleasure to welcome to you to the William G. McGowan Theater, and a special welcome to those of you who are joining us on YouTube, and even more special welcome to those of you who are joining us on CSPAN. The subject tonight could not be timelier, The History of Finance in American Political Campaigns. Money, of course has been an integral part of politics since the beginning of our nation But today's massive campaign operations and Super PACS are far more than what the founding fathers saw in their day Today no serious study of history of finance in American political campaigns can be done without reliance on our records. No single topic better illustrates the importance of the National Archives to our democracy. Congress has conducted important investigations of campaign finance practices. Lawmakers have passed major legislative reforms The Supreme Court has handed down historic rulings on the constitutionality of campaign finance laws. All of this is documented in the critical records of our nation's attempt to grapple with the influence of money in our political life. The records in the National Archives document that. So presenting tonight's program in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, and we thank them and their CEO for their support. Before we move on, I'd like to take a moment to tell you about two programs. We will present a program called "Why Lincoln Still Matters." In commemoration of the 207th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. A panel of scholars will share their personal reflections on the importance of the life and work of Lincoln for today's world. the 12th Annual From Wednesday, February 24th through Sunday, February 28th the 12th Annual Showcase of Academy Award Nominated Documentaries and Short Subjects. The NARA hosts free screenings of the nominees in four categories: documentary feature, documentary short subject, live action short film, and animated short film. The films are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in partnership with the with the Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film and the National Archives Foundation. Now it is my pleasure to welcome to the stage the Honorable Barbara Kennelly the current president of the US Association of Former Members of Congress who will introduce the panel. Barbara served 17 years in the House of Representatives, representing the first district of Connecticut She was the first woman named chief deputy majority whip. She is the founder and president of her own advocacy organization and she is distinguished professor of political science at Trinity Washington University here in the district. Please join me in welcoming Barbara Kennelly. (applause) Thank you David for again hosting us in this very marvelous building; a building which absolutely protects the history of the United States of America. We, at the Association of Former Members of Congress, David, I really want to say this to you again, we so appreciate the partnership that we have with the Archives. It's resulted in numerous excellent discussions that have served to showcase for serious deliberations across the aisle. We can only hope that come November there's a new time where the White House and the Congress and the President get together. We can only hope. Before elections can be won they have to be run.These days, to run an election means one thing: To finance an election. The other night I was absolutely amused after the New Hampshire primary. A panelist from CNN was asked if he thought John Kasich would win. They replied, oh, no, John Kasich cannot outfund Jeb Bush, end of story. That's what we deal with these days, because money has become so pervasive in our political system. A great many individuals and organizations are now taking a great look at this whole situation. Our group that we are joining with tonight, partnering with the Archives and with former members, is Issue One, and they are partners tonight in this tremendous important conversation, and I thank you for coming, because this is really important to the future of our Democratic system. Let me quote from their website. Issue One, a nonprofit organization, committed to putting everyday citizens back in control of our democracy by reducing the influence of money over American politics and policy-making. One of Issue One's most important initiatives is a reformer's caucus, a bipartisan group of 120 former members Governors working together on this issue tonight. And I am a proud member of the reformers, and all the former members that you are going to see on the panel, they are a part of establishing Issue One and being part of it. We are therefore in very knowledgeable and capable hands tonight for an in-depth and serious look at financing in political campaigns; and with Issue One's help, we created an outstanding panel. Let me ask them to join me on the stage, and you're going to help me in welcoming them. Senator Bennet Johnston, a Democrat from Louisiana. (Applause. ) Senator Bill Brock a republican from the great state of Tennessee, Ambassador Tim Roemer, a Democrat from Indiana, who after his service in the house was our country's ambassador to India. and Meredith McGehee, who is the Policy Director of the Campaign Legal Center in the areas of Campaign Finance, Voter Rights, Political Communications and Government Ethics. Keeping things flowing and keeping these fine folks in order will be the job of our moderator, Jeff Shesol, an American historian, a comic strip author, a writer for Bill Clinton when he was President. And, David, I want to, again, thank you because, seriously, to have a place like the Archives, to have a program like this and have the caliber of these panelists to be able to come and talk to you and discuss what's bothering us, the fact that money has taken over our elections, and we can't continue this way, so I thank you for coming tonight. (Applause.) >> JEFF SHESOL: Thanks very much. I want to thank all of you for coming out on a very cold night. I want to thank the Archives for hosting us. Issue One and US Association of Former Members of Congress. We're very lucky, very lucky to have such a distinguished panel of former Members of Congress here with us tonight, whose careers have spanned the pre-Buckley and Post-Buckley and the Citizens United eras; survived them all, and they will be sharing their experiences and insights with us tonight. I want to thank Meredith McGehee for being here as well. We're very glad to have your expertise on hand as we try to navigate the complex and changing landscape of campaign finance law. I'll have questions for each of you, of course, but we really want this to be a conversation, so if you want to jump in, any of you at any time, I know Members of Congress rarely need that sort of prompting. (Laughter) >> JEFF SHESOL: And later we'll be taking questions from the audience. And in the spirit of the subject of this evening, the microphones will go to the highest bidder. (Laughter) >> JEFF SHESOL: Let's begin, Meredith, with you. We're marking -- I say marking -- celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Buckley decision by the Supreme Court, a decision that equated spending with speech, and I wonder if you can walk us through Buckley and why it's such an important decision. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: Talk about how we got here, because I think it's important to see how this issue has developed. You know, I could actually start back at the founding of the country and start talking about special interest infractions, but I don't think I'll go all the way that far. I think you have to look to the scope of the last century, from 1907 to the corporate ban that was passed in the Roosevelt era, in the '40s where the ban was on campaign contributions passed in the aftermath of World War II in the steel workers strike. Then you had after the (inaudible) that was passed and the aftermath of Watergate, and then you had a series of court cases, and, of course, the one that everyone pays the most attention to is the Buckley decision, and what was critical about that decision was the differentiation in terms of how the Court interpreted the treatment of expenditures versus contributions, and it really kind of bifurcated the way those were treated under constitutional law, saying you could not put limits on expenditures for candidates. You could have independent expenditures, and independent expenditures were not corrupting. So in other words, you could give a small contribution, small $2,000, and anything over that was corrupting, but if you spent $1 million in independent expenditures, that was not corrupting. That somewhat begs reality. The Buckley decision raised issue in terms of what is coordination, what is independent spending, and looked at some areas of how you can get around spending limits, aggregate contribution limits, how much you can give to a party. That decision recognized that you can have the ability to give money to a party, and then that money would be given to candidates, and they were potentially corrupting influences in that exchange. The other kind of notable question here in terms of court juris prudence was the notion that you could not exactly equate money with speech, but that obviously -- that the ability to spend this money had free speech implications, so it was this notable linking of rights with spending of money, which really had not been the juris prudence change at how we looked at the linkage between speech and money. Now I'm going to move very quickly where we got today. So after Buckley you have Austin, The case of Austin vs Michigan Cahmber of Commerce and the reason that's important is they actually looked at the corporate contribution ban, and the ban on corporate contributions was upheld, and it had the ability to distort if you allow corporations to tap their Treasury funds. Then you move from Austin and you go to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which I know some of the folks up here, I actually lobbied on that bill, and that was challenged in the McConnell v FEC case. The court upheld that. Of course that court had Sandra Day O'Connor on it. It had a very wide spread of what constituted corruption. Then of course we had Citizens United Then followed by a case most people don't pay attention to, SpeechNow, which allowed Super PACs to raise and spend unlimited money. And then the last case, McCutcheon. in which the aggregate campaign contributions was thrown out by the court. most important things in this, of course, are not only the differentiation between expenditures and contributions, but also the Court saying that the only constitutional grounds to go and discuss these kind of campaign limits are the grounds of corruption and the appearance of corruption. And so that's important, because when you got to this last court case, McCutcheon, the majority said unless you have almost a quid pro quo agreement, then you really don't have corruption. And just a reminder in the Kennedy decision in Citizens United, Mr. Kennedy wrote -- and I'm paraphrasing -- the seeing and buying of influence will not create problems of undermining public confidence in the government. Whether you believe that or not, of course, is up to each of you individually. I know where I come from. >> Well, and one of my questions we'll get to is whether you believe that, what defines corruption. But before we get to that, Senator Brock, you, like Senator Johnston were elected right around the time that congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act in 1971 and you were in office for the Watergate era reforms, the Amendments, FECA,and and then for the Buckley decision and beyond it, I wonder if you can speak to the changes that you witnessed during your tenure there. How did it affect you as someone who was running for office on either side of some of those events, as someone who was trying to get something done in the Senate in between? Did you feel that money was playing a greater and greater role during that period? >> BILL BROCK: I think my first race in the Senate at least was in 1970, and I don't think we thought much about it, to be honest with you. You could take cash, you could take checks. I never got any in-kind. I'm not sure what that meant in those days. But the idea that money was sufficient to cause a serious corruption, I don't think most of us thought much about that until the Watergate, and then we began to read the story of people going to jail for violating -- I guess it was '70, '71, you said whoa, okay, then there's something going on. And after that when the '74 limits were imposed, again, it didn't have any effect. I do very well remember, though, one specific case in which we had an East Tennessee man, and he was used to tapping, I found out later, all the suppliers to his company, and he said if you want to do business with me, I want a piece of the business that we do together. And then he would turn around and give it to cash for what was local, state, or national. And I went to see him, because he was a political -- he was an activist, and while I was there, he said, oh, I've got this envelope for you. And I said, Jack, I know what's in there, and I can't take it. He said, these are newspaper clippings. And I said, Jack, I don't think so. (Laughter) >> BILL BROCK: He said, you know, you can trust me. Take it. I had these two guys with me, and we went out, we had driven about a mile, and I said, all right, I got to open this thing, and I opened it, and it was just a huge stack of bills. Not newspaper clippings. And I told one of my guys; I said, there's two cars behind us, you stop and you take it back, because I'm not going to jail for whatever it was. I don't care whether it was 5,000 or whatever. I said I'm not going to do it. He was just heart-broken because he had been doing it all of his life. And all of a sudden we began to see that the change of rules did change some things. You know, Buckley was a different world, very different, but we were reacting with Buckley with this thing, trying to see if there was corruption, that we could stop it, and we could stop it by at least dealing with the contribution side, if not the expenditure side. That was the hope. And it sounded logical at the time. >> JEFF SHESOL: Senator Johnston, I wonder if you could speak to the same question. You were there for the same period of transition, and did you see a change? Did it become a greater concern to you, greater concern to your constituents? >> BENNET JOHNSTON: Yes, I ran in 1972, which was the first year of the Federal Election Campaign Reform Act, which was the one declared unconstitutional in Buckley, and it was a very good act; it restricted contributions of $1,000 per person for an election, restricted the amount you could spend by the size of your state. It really worked well, and people don't remember that, but it worked very well. Then, you know, in 1976, it was declared unconstitutional, and so from then on we ran under, you know, unlimited expenditures. I was very, very concerned about it, because you could see every year it got worse. I mean, it started off, they didn't know how to spend the money. But now they've got these huge combines that know exactly how to do opposition research, how to poll, how to do targeting of people. They spend up to, if you can believe this, in one House race, $100 million. It is so absurd. It has ruined the Senate as Bill Brock and I knew it. I was very concerned about it. I was a committee chairman, had very bright staff, and we said what can we do about this? We were going to put in bills. And we researched up and down how we could solve the problem given Buckley. That was before Citizens United. And we came to the conclusion that there was not much you could do. You remember McCain Feingold, which I thought was an Act which I voted for which I thought was sort of a nothing burger, and even that was declared unconstitutional. So I'm absolutely convinced there's only one way to deal with expenditures, contributions, and what has corrupted the whole system is to have either a constitutional amendment or a fifth vote on the Supreme Court. Citizens United was 5-4. And there's some other things that maybe you can do that would be -- you know, marginally help. But you need a constitutional amendment. We ought to put it in now. Every candidate for President now has endorsed it. I was just reading yesterday, Bush said he would eliminate Citizens United. Trump, every speech he makes, he says: I don't want your money; I want your vote. And that's -- I think that's most of his appeal. And you know Hillary and you know Bernie, and all of them are for it. We ought to have a constitutional amendment, ask every candidate for President: Are you for us or against us? Do you want to limit contributions? And do the same thing with Members of Congress. And I think if we didn't pass it quickly, I think we could start a movement and a revolution, and believe me, I mean, Bernie Sanders talks about a revolution; we need a revolution in this issue now. >>We will do a little canvassing on the former members on this panel about the constitutional amendment, and you indicated there's some other possibilities that might be pursued, and I'd like to get to those before we go to questions from the audience. Congressman Petri, I believe you were a long-serving member of Congress in this group, and you no doubt saw and were affected by the changing dynamics in Congress that are often lamented on both sides of the aisle, the sharp spike in partisanship, the breakdown of what used to be by all accounts a very collegial group of folks. There are, I imagine, a variety of things that feed into this. Focus on the question at hand, and that is the role of money in campaign money. >> TOM PETRI: No question when I was there, increasingly in both parties the leadership has been encouraging individual members spend a lot of their time dialing for dollars, and that helps to determine to some significant degree your committee assignments and whether you're advanced to chairman and those things. In the older days seniority was king, pretty much. Can you imagine some of these chairmen dialing for dollars? It's just absolutely impossible. They wouldn't do it. And I think myself it has led to some of the dysfunction within the Congress, because so many decisions are being funneled through the leadership rather than allowing a number of different centers of authority within the -- I mean, these guys are old bulls, the chairman, you pretty much regarded as ruling the roost, and Jaime was pretty much the Secretary of Agriculture and one other point on what Senator Johnston was saying, and that is the Court decisions, in my opinion it seems the Federal Election Commissioner is supposed to be administering some laws, and it's been very dysfunctional. It's deadlocked, and this business of independent expenditures or something of that sort is an area where they can be pretty aggressive, and you can cut back, either that or make it truly independent, and they're not really doing it. So before we -- or maybe as well as talking about amending the Constitution and replacing Supreme Court Justices and this sort of thing, whatever they do, it's been screwed up before, so they're not going to necessarily get it right the next time. It seems to me we ought to at least be trying to administer the laws that we have on the books effectively, and that's just not being done because of political gridlock, they're not filling the positions, and candidates come in easily thinking they can file a complaint. It's really a law of the jungle out there so far as elections are concerned. >> JEFF SHESOL: Ambassador Roemer, looking back at your time in the House, they mentioned dialing for dollars. We're familiar with this phenomenon. I'm sure you're very familiar with this phenomenon. Issue One tells us now members are spending 50% of their day doing this and not doing the people's business. Can you talk about that constant pressure to be raising money and how does it affect the other 50% of your day? >> TIM ROEMER: I think that's a great question to start on, and here we have a Republican from the Midwest, a Republican from Tennessee, a Democrat from the great state of Louisiana, Deep South, a Midwesterner, all of us uniting and gathering together to encourage the people of our country to take back our democracy and demand the government that we deserve as people. And so let's talk about how this money is impacting the electoral process, the governing process, and the recruitment of good candidates to run for Congress in the first place. And we're doing it in the right place, because here in the Archives we have these sacred documents that have founded our country on the basis of equality for people and opportunity for people, yet this system that has dominated, this big money and the billionaires and the 158 families that provides half of the money in the campaign we're going through right now are determining not only who is going to win, but who will even run, who is going to get in the race for Senate and House and the Presidency. So I think this is one of the most fundamental questions we face in this Presidential year. AlQaeda is important, our foreign policy and security is vital. Certainly inequality in America but this issue of our democracy and who runs and how they represent our country is fundamental to solving all of these other issues, climate change and education and security. So when I first ran in 1989 I knew to take on an incumbent who had been in office for 10 years. He had spent about a million dollars before I needed to raise a million dollars through fish fries and hot dog suppers and individual contributions, but we both knew the Republican that I ran against and me, we both knew roughly what we had to raise and spend. And then comes what Meredith just talked about, Buckley and other decisions, and the doors started to open up on independent expenditures, outside groups, things that could add into the contribution level, and you eventually saw members spending more and more and more of their time dialing for dollars, raising money. They're not attending their committee assignment. They're not talking to a Republican across the aisle to try to figure out how to balance the budget or deal with climate change; they're on their phone at the Democratic headquarters or the Republican headquarters raising money, one, two, three, four hours a day. So that not only impacts who will eventually want to run in our democracy, it impacts when you get to Washington, how you do your job, and who you do it with and how you govern and sitting on your committees and do the work of Congress. And then it impacts -- on top of that as well, it impacts, you know, the kind of people that we're going to see running for President and where they spend their time and who they talk to. So I think, Jeff, this is just a critically important issue right now, and I'm delighted to see that there are people in the audience here that care about it, and we can talk about through the night here some of the solutions. >> JEFF SHESOL: Meredith, you talked a little bit about the definition of corruption as it has evolved over the course of the Supreme Court decisions, and I bookmarked that to come back to it, and I'm coming back to it now. Just to throw it open to the group, is the system corrupt? How do you define corruption? Is the Supreme Court indeed defining corruption too narrowly as only quid pro quo corruption, the kind that rarely happens where there's a stack of Ben Franklins offered or newspaper clippings put into an envelope? Is that the only kind of corruption that concerns you, or should not only the rest of us but our Justices and judges elsewhere -- >> One point, there's a difference between individual corruption, people taking their own money and using it for personal purposes, and the corruption of the process where you get sort of illegitimate decisions where people are buying public policy. There's less individual corruption, in my opinion, in Congress than there ever has been. I think people are personally, by and large, very honest and conscientious. We have not had one of these AB scams and things like this for years. People are very concerned about this. But people raise money from businesses before their Committees, and sometimes they're contributing because they don't want issues to be raised as well as to get something done, because they have a provision there they're already trying to protect. And this, we can see the ability of the system to improve the way we're governed. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: Actually, the way I think, people talk about corruption, and the appearance of corruption, the way I -- the form of the word I actually prefer is corrupting, because it is a system in which, and I think I would recommend for those who haven't read it recently, a new book out by Richard Painter, which is the Ethics Counselor for President Bush making a very persuasive case on this issue, similar to what we're hearing from these members, but talking not only about juris prudence about corruption and the appearance of corruption but what every American knows is the preferential access in influence; that that is, I think -- no doubt at all that's happening every day. A big donor gives, a big donor gets access, a big donor gets influence. And that means if you're an average American, the chances that you have of having that preferential access are next to nil. Every once in a while if you're from the home state, you might get an opportunity to meet with a Senator or Representative, but the ability to actually be heard and have influence, I think the most corrupting part of the system is the preferential access and influence. >> I would echo something that my friend Tim talked about, and I don't think that there are a bunch of members, Jeff, dialing for dollars and raising 5 and 10, 15, $20,000 a day and sticking that money in their pocket. That's not the problem today. The problem is they start their day at 8:00, not on Monday to go into session, usually on Tuesday. They may go to a committee assignment and then go to raise money four or five hours on Tuesday and have a couple votes. Wednesday, a little bit more fundraising, and another fundraiser at night and maybe a little work. Thursday they go home. And so much of that time that they should have been doing the people's business, working on the government problems, jobs and infrastructure projects, addressing the issues of affordability in higher education, they're not doing those things. They're instead talking to people that can afford to write 1,000 and 5,000 and 10,000, and at Presidential level $5 million, and so instead of talking to that pipefitter or nurse or that teacher and hearing about how they're worried about their job and they're worried about their kid and how many jobs their kid might have in their lifetime, that member might be sitting on the phone listening to somebody on Wall Street talk about derivatives, and something they need to do on legislation that may be coming up later. So is that a corrupting influence on the system? Is that insidious to our democracy? Is that unfair to the rest of the people in America? Yes. Yes, it is. That is not how our system's supposed to work, and I think that's what needs to be changed. >> I have such respect for my colleagues up here. I really don't like the word fair. I'm worried about what's happening to our country where people are. I want you to think about what it feels like to really care about some issue that affects you directly or your family or your community or your state. And you know, you just know, you don't have to see who is raising money, how many millions of dollars are given here and there. You know very well that the guy that gave 1,000 or $10,000 is going to get his phone call answered. The odds of you getting your phone call answered are zip. And what that does to you and your sense of what this country is all about, the genesis of it, the core of a self-governed body politic with representation, what that does to you when you look at that. I happen to think redistricting is at least a big if not more so, and what it's done to divide the parties. But we are down to 1 out of 7 Americans voting in a primary, and most of their candidates are elected in primaries, because we cut an unholy deal between the two parties. You get the Democrats, I get the Republicans. Who do you think votes in the primary? Forgive me but -- nuts (Laughter) >> BILL BROCK: Single issue people, people have a passion for a particular. Look at the totality of my community, my family, my children, and if I honestly and truly can't see a way to having an impact, why do I vote? And if I don't vote, why do I trust the system? Okay. That just scares me to death. That's the -- I don't even call it corruption. I don't call it unfair. I just think it's an erosion of everything that this country stands for that people could come to a conclusion that they don't have a voice because of the way things are operating. That just scares me to death. >> And the American public gets this. This is not something we have discovered up here. The polls show that over 80% of Americans think this system is rigged against them because of money and politics. So the time is ripe to change this system. You know, you say you can't pass a constitutional amendment; it's too hard. Well, I was there when we passed the Equal Rights Amendment for Women's Rights; I voted for it. It was a highly controversial issue, and it passed the Congress and almost passed through the states. That's a long story about question of rescission and how long you have to do it, but I believe this could be done, and if it can't, if you can't do it, you can at least start the movement. I bet you if we ask how many of you would help or ring a doorbell or something to try to help this, I bet everybody would say, yeah, let's do it. And I think that's all across this country; the country is ready for it. When every Presidential candidate says they're for changing the rules and we don't even try to change it, we've got to try. We've got to try. >> JEFF SHESOL: Senator Johnston, if I could just ask you a question, and this is for all of you. The polls are, we're seeing it across a lot of opinion polls different methodology, same result, Republicans feel just as strongly as Democrats, you see manifesting itself in the primaries right now, there's a reason all candidates are speaking to this across the board. So given that, why is reform such an uphill battle? Why is it so difficult to translate? This isn't even a 60/40 issue. Maybe the 80/15 could be persuaded if they spent some time hearing about it, thinking about it from the candidates and elected officials, why is it -- >> BENNET JOHNSTON: Well, first you've got to try. We need a constitutional amendment put in. I drafted one, given it to some of you. If you don't like it, draft another one. Go to somebody and say, would you introduce this? And run some ads and have the questioners on the debates say: Are you for such-and-such Amendment? And if you're not, why not? If you think a constitutional amendment is not the right way to go, what's your solution? And believe me, I tried. We spent weeks with very smart staff, trying to figure out a way, and that was before Citizens United and McCutcheon. It's simple. It says the Congress may define and regulate contributions and expenditures. Very simple. That's at the core of this whole thing, and if you don't deal with that, you can't -- you can't deal with expenditures and contributions. And that's the problem. >> JEFF SHESOL: I wonder if you -- >> But if you pass that and you turn it over to the Federal Election Commission, you're not accomplishing a whole lot. >> No, no, no, this is a constitutional amendment. >> The Supreme Court has a difficult job. They're trying to balance competing freedoms that we have, and you can go all one way or another, and so they struck a balance. You can say they're na've about politics and expenditures and one thing or another, but if they're being administered effectively to say the system is not working so we have to amend the Constitution. >> Let me try to referee that. >> It's tough to do, and I think Bennet is right, and I think you're right. We have to go after big, bold ideas to completely turn our system upside down and right-side up, and we have to chip away. This is difficult because there is so much money dominating the system; it has paralyzed and frozen the system. We have a President who appointed me to a job I'm very grateful for and who just gave a great talk in Springfield about reclaiming our politics and becoming more civil and cleaning up money out of the system and making it more fair. He has an Executive Order sitting on his desk and has had it there for many weeks to clean up how federal contractors do business with our own government. And to say to all federal contractors: You have to disclose who you give money to, because you're not going to win a contract based upon contributions; you're going to have to win it on merit. We need the President to sign that Executive Order and take a modest step forward to clean up our system. He can do that. I think he will do that. And this bipartisan group is encouraging him very strongly to take that action, and that will have an impact. We're talking about big ideas to reform the FEC, which is toothless and worthless right now. They're not doing anything to enforce the laws. We're talking about juris prudence solutions in this bipartisan we formed, 120 Republicans and Democrats to overturn and push a constitutional amendment, to get the candidates for President on record; to actually interview their Supreme Court nominees and ask them, will you vote to overturn Buckley and Citizens United before they appoint them. So I think you have to start with success, chipping away at this corrosive and insidious system dominated by a mountain of money, and at the same time go after these bold ideas to completely change a system that is not representing the American people. >> So I have a little bit of a different answer not in terms of substance, but you asked this question why we have these polls that show one thing and no action, and to some degree I can give you a one word answer, two-word answer, and that would be Mitch McConnell. He has taken this issue on. He has blocked most efforts to update the Presidential financing system. There was a vote in September of 2014 on a constitutional amendment to overturn Buckley and Citizens United. That was a 54-42 vote. Not one Republican voted for it, and so it was all a totally partisan split. So right now when you go out and talk to the American people outside of Washington, the conversations you can have about money and politics are amazing. Everybody gets it. I can tell you as someone who is a registered lobbyist, you go up to the Hill and you talk to Congressional Republicans, and essentially the door gets slammed in your face. Now where we have had some success as Mr. Petri said is FEC reform. We have worked on a bipartisan bill that has two Democrats and two Republicans to try and fix the Federal Election Commission. I will note that the two Republicans who bravely went on that bill got phone calls from their leadership, saying: What the heck did you just do? So the party structure at the moment on the Republican side has taken the position that they believe speech is money. They oppose a constitutional amendment. They oppose other efforts to try and fix the system. Now, my hope is that what you're seeing in this election with Mr. Trump, with Mr. Sanders, and with some of the others that this dynamic is changing regularly. It's an unsettled electorate. But there is a total division between what you hear on the countryside and what the polls show you and what you hear up on the Hill. >> Well, I respectfully submit that things have fundamentally changed. The Republican Presidential candidates are supporting this. Yesterday Bush asked what Trump is running on; Cruz has said this. Last time they had a vote up there, it was before all of these huge $10 million contributions. The public has changed. You think the leader of the Senate, if the American public is concerned about this, is going to be able to stop this? I mean, that would be like trying to hold back the tide. Things have changed. We need to try. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: From your lips to God's ears. >> JEFF SHESOL: I want to talk a little bit further about this idea of a constitutional amendment, and there are -- Senator, as you mentioned, there are a number of ideas out there, including yours, and they are, I think, one of the most popular suggestions in terms of how to reckon with this massive problem. And there's an obvious appeal to thinking bold, as you're suggesting Ambassador. But I wonder for the sake of argument if you might think about this historical analogy and see whether it applies at all here. As David mentioned, I wrote a book called Supreme Power, and before President Roosevelt decided faithfully to pack the court beginning in 1937, he spent actually a couple of years considering other approaches to deal with the obstacles that the Supreme Court was putting up to the New Deal. As you know, the Supreme Court was striking down one New Deal, and there was a movement in the country for a constitutional amendment of one kind or another. Either stripping power away from the Court, clearly defining due process. Roosevelt ultimately decided against it, because he said, look, I think the problem is not the Constitution, the problem is the Court. What can we do about this Court? Now, of course, there's not a whole lot you can do about the Court, and I don't think any of you would suggest packing it at this point. But do you think that applies, or is there something -- (Laughter) >> JEFF SHESOL: Let's talk about that. Make the news tonight. But is there a problem in the Constitution that needs to be resolved in this manner, or do we need simply to wait for the next Supreme Court appointment, which is a frustrating thing to do? >> To have a constitutional amendment pending and a debate going and the questioners at these Presidential debates talking about it, that affects the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court listens to the public. I mean, look at the Second Amendment. You know, when I came in the Senate, the Second Amendment was considered to be only, you know, relating to militias, and through really political activism, they legitimized the subject and the Supreme Court changed it. So the Supreme Court listens to the public, and they listen to this. I mean, they've been pretty tone deaf in not being able to see what this has done to the country, and the Congress and the Senate and the Presidency, but they will eventually. So it goes hand in glove there. >> So one of the things, Jeff, in answer to your question, in Washington we can concentrate on Washington. It's what we know, where we've worked. But the great news about reform is not only that we not only have Presidential candidates talking about the political process being broken, which leads to the economic issues in our country, but we also have states in the country, 25 states, I believe, who have taken this issue onto reform their own states, cleaning up lobbying, and trying to (inaudible) the connection between lobbyists. They've done that in South Carolina, and the South Carolina Supreme Court has affirmed that as a legal action and law. San Francisco, Seattle, Maine, all passing legislation at the local and state level, and Republicans can't object to this. These are people at the grass roots acting to empower small donors to do more, to give at the local level. They are doing more at the state level and the local level to, you know, address, as I said before, you know, some of the inequalities in the financial system, in the campaign system. So when you see this movement from Arkansas and Montana and Idaho and California across to Maine, that does a couple things; that puts pressure on Members of Congress to pay more attention. So to Meredith's point, you go in and meet with a member of Congress and say, look, your state just passed all of these reforms at the local level; what's wrong with doing this at the federal level? That's a pretty compelling argument. A state's right argument at the federal level to do something common sense. And then to the point that I think on a constitutional amendment that can build support at the state level where you're going to eventually have to have support, you know, to get a certain number of states to be in favor of this, too. So, again, back to what I said, you have to fight like hell to chip away and do the FEC reform, the federal contracting reform, make Congress accountable and do more, shame them into this if they don't -- if they're not convinced on the arguments of it, and do this national effort to address the states taking this on in a constitutional amendment. Together, I think that will take our system back. Now, will it be done next year? No. Two years? No. Three or four years? I think we've got a shot. I think this is a legitimate opportunity in three or four years to do this, to reclaim our government. >> I really don't believe it would take that long. People say look at the history of constitutional Amendments. Things have changed in this country. The public is on fire on this issue. Look at what's going on. Look at the debates. Watch Trump. He says: I don't want your money; I want your vote. Everybody says he's going to take it back from the people who have this country rigged. >> JEFF SHESOL: Before we go to the audience here -- >> Just for a second. I'm the old dog in this group up here. And if there's one thing I have learned is that every time you do something legislatively, there are unintended consequences. Buckley was a response to a perceived need, had an unintended consequence. We're really good at saying we can fix something here. The thing that attracts me about what Tim is talking about is that if you do believe that representative government works, I guarantee you it works best at the local level where you can talk to your mayor or your county office person or your state legislator, it works best at the state level, county and state, and probably least best as we daily prove up here in Washington. If you want to see change, and this goes back to the question of how do you get it there, I think you do have to start at that local and state level. Then you begin to address the hazard of that unintended consequence, because the genius of the federal system is we've got 50 states; some of them making a mess out of things, and some of them doing it right. We learn from each other, and then you begin to build a logic between your case. If you start top down, make it partisan, make it a national demand, you run a risk. I fully believe there's ample evidence that when the people of this country begin to move in a direction, the Court does listen. It does affect what they do. We had a very close vote on Citizens. One vote made the difference. I'm not sure that that vote would have been there had we had something going a year or two before that that said: This is really important to us. >> JEFF SHESOL: You want to jump in and any of you who have questions, if you want to line up by the mic in the aisles there, then we'll alternate sides and take your question. >> I would say not only at the state level, but we do have fortunately a fairly open process. Can you imagine the candidate going on TV and -- (inaudible) because perception was that she's already got the big bucks, and Trump is getting a lot of support primarily because he's busy saying I don't want your money, and the people -- and the purpose of all this money at the end of the day is votes. Money doesn't directly vote, and if individuals take control of the process themselves and take responsibility and support candidates that are expressing views that they agree with, even small contributions can make a big difference. >> JEFF SHESOL: It looks like we have a question right here. >> I was wondering what you thought of the idea where instead of limiting the money, instead having the money matched on the other side, allow an idea that might have no traction to be put out there, but at least an even discussion of it. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: You know, to the point that Mr. Roemer was saying, there are actually a number of places where the matching system has worked and worked well. New York City, for example, it has a very robust matching system. Seattle has done something a little different, not exactly a matching system but a voucher system in which they are sending $100 to a registered voter and they're going to be able to give that money to the candidate of their voice. You have a number of times where for 30 years actually the Presidential system, which was a voluntary system, had a matching system that worked very well. So I think there are a lot of answers here that can be done. In the meantime, one of my political concerns with the constitutional amendment -- and this is not -- there's a whole substantive question is it's a very easy answer for politicians. What do you want to do? Well, I'm for a constitutional amendment, end of story. I actually like to see people that are put to the test. Are you going to support this legislation to reform the FEC? Are you going to support a system of matching of small donors? I want to get these guys and make sure there's an opportunity to not only make a general statement but make changes. There are changes that can be made in the House or Senate rules about what money Senators or Representatives could accept that don't even have to go through the whole legislative process in addition to the Executive Order. So I think a matching -- systematically, a robust small donor matching system would do one really important change, and that is change the incentive. Right now the incentives for the candidates are to pursue the big dollars. So I think it's a very important system that is being tried all around the country. >> I'd say these are good systems, and they're great. The problem is that you get matched, you know, you make the pledge. I'm going to go accept small contributions, and that's matched, but your opponent, because of Buckley and other decisions, can spend unlimited amounts. You can't deal with him if you are both playing by the same rules. >> I wasn't talking about matching the money that was put in. I'm talking about matching the other side. If someone puts in $100,000, then the public money matches against the $100,000 that they put in, so you have an even battle -- >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: The Courts have actually struck down that system. It was in Arizona. The Court said that that was not constitutional. >> It's a good idea. We worked on that and figured out it was not constitutional. >> JEFF SHESOL: Thank you. We've got a gentleman over here. Do you want to jump in? >> Sure. So I actually worked for Congressman Roemer's successor, or one of his successors, Joe Donnelley for three years, and I want a slight tweak, Joe was the most accessible guy I knew. We went to meetings, we did Congressman on your Corner, and three, four people would show up. >> No reflection on Joe; right? >> No, he's hilarious. That's probably still the case today. I'm sure Congresswoman is experiencing the same thing. I don't think it's a question of access. I forget who this quote comes from, I think thinking about the challenge, this is the challenge I see which someone said: Organized greed will beat disorganized democracy every time. And I think that's really the -- the name that hasn't come up here is my dad's classmates, which is the Coke brothers. So, you know, that challenge, thinking about the challenge, I think, is important, and the access is there, if people will take it. But in my role working in South Bend, Indiana, I think I talked to -- I met probably 5,000 people in three years. I had one person come to us who had a request that was not purely self-interested or ideological. One person said: This is a good idea that I see in the tax code. He was a tax professor, an accountant. And then the second thing is, just as a point, is I think to a certain extent we have created a problem for business, too, and I think this gets under-commented. One, I love capitalism, but corporations have a fiduciary obligation to maximize and share wealth. Two, they now can spend unlimited money in elections; so three, corporations and their officers now have an obligation to corrupt democracy. They have an obligation to spend as much money in our government as will maximize their wealth, their net present value. And so I'm curious to hear what people think not only a problem for government, which we talk about a lot in D.C., but I'm sure people talk about in board rooms, which is are they obligated to spend money? How do they spend that money? >> So let me jump on the first part of your question, because you asked it about Indiana and my hometown, home district. I used to do the same things that Joe did, garbage can turkey roast, where we get 40 people to come on a Sunday afternoon so they get access to their Congressman. We did that all over the district, and Joe did that, and now Congresswoman is doing that. Why do they do that? First, they're good politicians and servants, both Republicans and Democrats, but the reason we do that is because that is one of the few competitive districts left in America. We have a system, and this is going back to Senator Bill Brock's point, where instead of having people fight for their districts and talk to their people and listen, Charlie Cook now estimates that there are about 25 out of 435 really competitive races in America. >> Less than 50 for sure. >> Somewhere between 25 and 50, maybe 25 that are really toss-ups how can that be in our great democracy. That you have 350 people that don't even have to go and meet with their constituents. And then they come back here to Washington and they raise money. They don't raise money for their election but for their chairmanship, for the leadership PAC, for the R&C and the D&C, and so that often puts other priorities in the queue legislatively, and maybe not that person that the Congressman met with to do something to make higher education more affordable. That falls down the line. So it's this corrosive system, redistricting, and money that has led to a democracy that is dysfunctional and deadlocked right now. And I hate to say this, but we get the government we deserve. The people of America get the government they deserve, and until we rally up and revolt and take this government back, we're not going to change it, whether it's a constitutional amendment or whether it's an FEC reform. The American people really have to take this 75 or 80% frustration rate, I'm mad as hell, but are you going to do something about it? That's the key right now. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: And I think you raised an important point, the impact of the system on two issues, the Committee For Economic Development, which is the Fortune 500 companies has come out with very strong statements talking about how the system really has turned into a legalized shakedown from their perspective. And the second is our national defense. This special interest system results in expenditures on the defense side for things that folks in the Pentagon don't even want. So, you know, this is a system that's not -- I think too often, you know, there's this notion that talks about this money in politics as a progressive or liberal issue. That's why I'm so pleased to see this group that Issue One has put together, because it's not a left or right issue. This is about how you think democracy should work. There have actually been studies that looked at the states that have adopted these matching and systems in public financing. Guess what they find? It's not a Republican or a Democratic system. Our national defense is suffering because of the current system. >> Just a point on what Tim was saying. We talk about all of these districts being safe, and only 30 or 50 being competitive, and yet there's tremendous turnover, a majority of the Senators, or were until very recently, the average member of the House only serves three or four terms. And you say how can it be? Well, a lot of them quit once they get into the system and they go in with the best of intentions and they're honest people and trying to make a difference, and they end up being pushed into this system where they're basically dialing for dollars in the hopes of being effective, and they say this is not why I got into this and they leave. So you have a tendency, you know, really able people, higher education levels and all the rest of the Congress than in our history supposedly, but I don't know about practical education, and yet we have tremendous turnover because of the way the incentives once you get into the system. >> Please, anybody that is watching this, thinking about it, don't start saying that the system is corrupt in terms of its effect. It does work. It's dysfunctional, but I'm going to tell you, in my life experience, and I'll guarantee you there's no disagreement up here, the huge overwhelming majority of Members of Congress are good, honest, caring, committed patriotic people who are there because they wanted to make a difference. And they leave because it's hard when the system is in deadlock. Start with this, or go home and say for gosh sakes look what California, the Midwest, Florida are doing on districting. Look at the states that are doing things on finance. Let's try it here in Tennessee, Arkansas, or Ohio. And we learn from each other. And then you can begin to create this movement that says we're going to take the country back, is a great way to put it, but we're going to give ourselves a voice again. We've lost our voice. We feel the loss of that voice, and it scares us, all of us. >> JEFF SHESOL: Take one more question. >> Got a couple more, actually. I'll play devil's advocate here. Why not. You said the system is corrosive and insidious, but hasn't the system always been corrosive and insidious? Before Buckley there was like Narnia and everything was good, and, I mean, there was still access by a limited few; it was just a limited few, so if money isn't free speech, then how do you ensure equal access to information for equal parties? Yeah, I'll just leave it there. >> I think that's a very good question and a very fair question. I would say, first of all, that maybe there's always been the potential in this system that has increasingly been about raising money and members spending more time doing it, that the possibility of this gridlock and insidious system would come about, but now because of complicated decisions like Buckley, like Citizens United, like McCutcheon it has opened up such a tsunami of money in the system, plus you have the districting problem where state legislators are carving out safe seats for 80% of the Members of Congress on the House side, and they don't have to legislate; they don't have to work on your problems; all they've got to do is keep a primary from taking place. And so you have that problem layered onto this. In addition, because of these complicated Supreme Court cases, now at the Presidential level you have very wealthy Americans that can write a single check to a single candidate and keep them in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, into Michigan. They don't have to go out and convince all of you in this room to vote for them and give them money. All they have to do is get one person to bank roll them now, and they are a voice out there sometimes for good; sometimes for not so good. And so you've got all of these cascading influences out there that happened at the same time that I think have really collided to create a system that does not allow generally the American average citizen to have the voice that Jefferson and Washington and Adams and our Founders said was an equal opportunity system for voting and accessing the system. It's not working. >> If we could just pause on Super PACs for a moment, if you can bear it. Is there anything that can be done short of a to a constitutional amendment to put the Super PAC Genie back in the bottle? >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: There are things that can be done. One of the most ludicrous Super PACs, I think everybody remembers Mitt Romney talking about my Super PAC, so that's actually partly at the door of the Federal Election Commission. They could come in with reasonable rational rules about what constitutes independence. And so that's just a starting place there to say, you know, we've had independent expenditures. People forget that since Buckley, and they weren't effective, for the most part, because you had this lack of coordination. The messaging was often not right. Now you have them working hand in glove. That's fixable. There's also the dark money groups, oh, my goodness, this is an IRS problem. The IRS says as long as you don't spend more than 50% of your money on political activity, you're a social welfare organization. That's ridiculous. These are fixable problems. This is where Mr. Roemer hits the nail on the head. You always have to think in politics in two tracks. I'm going to disagree with you a little bit. My experience of 30 years of politics is that most of the consequences are, in fact, intended. I think there's so much that can be done right now this Congress. And certainly on Super PACs the FEC could move tomorrow if it had an effective Commission that was working. >> Let me just say one thing about independence. We had an election down in Louisiana not too long ago, and one of the candidates was in a wreck the day before the election with a woman. It was no sex involved, but she happened to be the Chairman of his Super PAC. (Laughter) >> It was just a cup of coffee. >> I'm curious between the Senate being a six-year term and the House being a two-year term how much relative pressure there is on House members to raise money versus Senators, and there's countries like the Philippines that have a three-year term for the House, and so this reduces a little bit of the pressure for fundraising for races that are 50% more time between terms. As I understand it, Jimmie Carter after he left the Presidency thought that maybe the Presidency should have one six-year term. What do you guys think of those ideas? >> Those on the other side of that equation would have argued strenuously against that. We thought an election took care of that. Before Buckley, senators generally would raise their money the year before the election, and the other five of the six-year term they would tend to their business and that sort of thing. And House members didn't -- it wasn't as bad for the House members either. Now Senators raise money all six years, and they do it morning, noon, and night, weekend. I mean, it's -- these guys do not do the job. They are raising money, and they're traveling all over the country to do it, and it's -- I think it's scandalous how little time they spend learning their job. >> Well, think about it, in the House if all the seats are safe and all you're worrying about is the primary except the 50 seats, where are the monies going? Primaries aren't that expensive, especially if you can avoid them somehow. Look frightening so people won't run against them. Many districts in the country, partly because they're safe or rural and don't have TV stations in them, you still have to advertise, but the costs are much less in rural areas than obviously if you're in New York or Connecticut or someplace like that. Actually money in most races isn't that much. >> You want to make a lot of money in America today, buy a radio and TV station in Iowa and New Hampshire and just wait for the onslaught of money to be spent in the primaries in the presidential race. >> And then shoot yourself if you're looking at the tube. (Laughter) >> Can I? One word was mentioned here that hadn't been mentioned before and that's party. But aren't there limits on the parties now? >> Limits on what can be contributed to the parties. >> Okay. Now think about this issue with primaries. Think about what California's trying to do with the winnertakeall primary, where they say, you know, the top two people in a general primary run against each other, can be two Democrats, two Republicans, whatever, but the idea is that by doing it that way, they're going to force those two to compete for the center where most of us are. Think about that in terms of what if we took the limit off of parties? Because then the party's function is to win elections. They're not going to be supporting people in a primary. They better not get into a primary. They're going to have real trouble. Their purpose has to be try to get some district reform, okay, but try to get people elected by competing for the majority of the public, not the 1 out of 7 votes in a primary. We, again, have an impact by limiting and putting unlimited money. We've replaced our two parties will PACs. We're crazy. Nobody controls the PACs. It's just, it's so upside down what we've got. It's crazy. >> JEFF SHESOL: I think we have time for one more question from the audience. >> I've been really interested in Issue One and the the campaign legal center because other things you're really positive. I appreciate you're focusing on a lot of concrete steps that can actually be done now, and I think that's really important. So one question I had is if you could only pick one thing that you would urge people to really lobby Members of Congress on that you think would have the best shot of being accomplished, what would that be? >> Well, you know where I stand. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: You know, actually I think if we were talking short term, which I often think about, the first place I would go, other than trying to get the FEC to do something -- that's a different question -- is actually this question about the connection between lobbyists and bundling and the role that they play. That's kind of a holy alliance, where you have the lobbyists coming and representing those that are giving a lot of the money. You have this kind of ability for the lobbyists not for them to give themselves, that's not the issue here. It's the ability to organize the money and get credit for the money, and then to come to the Congress and everybody knows that if you're the lobbyist who has organized all of this money, you're getting in the door. That's a very fixable problem, actually, and fairly simple legislatively to do. And to me, I think lobbying is a very honorable profession. I've been a registered lobbyist since 1987. I happen to have never given a campaign contribution in my life. But what's happened in Washington is you have this combustible cocktail in which the lobbying community, the billionaires, the special interests, all get in bed together and then get up and be able to influence what goes on in Washington. To me, if that's the first line that you can draw, that would at least begin to change a little bit of how the town works. >> I don't disagree with that, but I think is really hard to get done in the short term. I believe that we have an opportunity to address a lot of issues with a reform of the FEC to put the burden on them to be responsible, knock the deadlock off, and get with some specific actions that would address the very tangible problem. We're all good at defining a problem. It's really easy to see the problem, but getting the -- putting those people in a position to effect the change, they're there. Make it possible. >> TIM ROEMER: I would say two things, but they're connected and they're doable and they're achievable in the next few weeks or several weeks. When John Kennedy was President, there was a poll done and the American people were asked: Do you believe that government can be a positive force in your life? And I think something like 75% of Americans said, yeah, I do, whether it's a Post Office or veterans or, you know, something in government, yes, can be positive. Today, especially with our young people and our millennials, that's upside down. Nobody believes -- sometimes people believe the local and state government can be a force, and that is depressing to see that, so my focus initially in order to build momentum, show confidence that we can start moving this, show the reformer community that we can get some wins. It would be two parts: One would be let's all encourage President Obama to sign this Executive Order and clean up federal contracting so that there's a bright flashlight, sunshine on this process. Every federal contractor that does business with our government, they need to disclose who they're giving business to. I think we can do that. Secondly, coming back to the FEC, the Federal Election Commission, you break the law when you're running for Congress and you take illegal contributions or you break a limit, if there is a limit, you should pay a price for that, and right now literally nothing happens to anybody. Congress, in fact, uses the FEC as a political tool to almost accuse people in campaign commercials of doing something wrong because they know nothing will ever happen. So if we can reform the FEC and get Congress to pass a bill to change the demographics there, you know, maybe it rotates, 4 Democrats, 3 Republicans, depending who is President, never deadlocked, 3-3, independent people appointed. That can do a lot to change the way that there is teeth in our election system and the way it's enforced. And then you build from there. You start going to the states, and the states are encouraged to keep up their reforms. You see juris prudence efforts, whether that's a new Supreme Court or a few new Supreme Court members. A constitutional amendment that you can be working on at the same time. That's the kind of momentum we need to see from the American people on this. >> I would say there's no silver bullet in all of this, but functioning FEC is at least we should expect. And secondly, I've always thought it's a good idea, elections do cost money; someone's got to pay it, and you can diminish the role of large contributions if you encourage small contributions as we're seeing in the Presidential race now. It's an even contest. I introduced legislation when I was in Congress year after year to go back to the system we had before the elitist reforms to give people a tax credit, small contributions, a couple hundred dollars, whatever, that won't cost you anything if you're interested, or a tax deduction for a little larger contributions. I think if people view contributions like buying a lottery ticket, you'll start following it more and get involved, and the whole point is a citizen involvement and a system that is responsive to the average citizen. But the average citizen has a responsibility, too, and that is to understand that you don't just get rights. You have to have some responsibility. We should try to encourage that set of barriers to people participating. >> JEFF SHESOL: Any closing statements from the rest of the panel? >> BILL BROCK: You have to do something to encourage people. It can be done. You need early wins, short victories that people can say, oh, I believe it's possible. Once people begin to get a little bit of an up to this conversation, it will happen. >> TIM ROEMER: Can I just say one short thing? As you travel a lot around the world, you look at something like Nelson, he spent 20 years in a prison in South Africa, and one of the things that sustained him was the fact that when he got out he wanted to bring democracy to his people. And he held up America as the standard for that democracy in the world; that we were that beacon of hope to every other country, and what we had, he wanted for freedom and equality for his people. Sadly today, when you travel around the world, you start to hear from people, hey, you know what, America is becoming a lot more like the rest of the world. You don't have competitive elections. You have money swirling all over your system. You have a corrosive, insidious deadlock system that doesn't get much done. We need to address this. We need to take this democracy back, and you can do this. People are listening to this argument now. It has fundamentally changed, and I think if we don't use terminology like Buckley and Citizens United and we talk about our democracy and our Founders and equality for all people and the voice of our citizens and that our democracy is at stake, I think this is going to turn. I really believe that there is a positive wave coming in America to take back this government. >> MEREDITH McGEHEE: My last comment I actually think our democracy is both robust and fragile at the same time. You know, my father left his high school at age 17 to go fight in World War II because of the threat to our nation. And I remember taking my niece one time to the Holocaust museum, and we were going through that and they saw in Germany Adolf Hitler came to power through elections. They were stunned. They had no clue. Every time we think about our democracy, and I think Mr. Roemer hit this nail on the head, we get the democracy we deserve. But a lot of us take it for granted. It's always been there. We've had problems before, but we've always stuck it out. I think it's much more fragile than that. And I think really as a nation, can't assume because we've had 200-plus years of democracy that we think we're entitled in some way to 200 more. And if we aren't careful with what happens and the way the system works, these basic issues about democracy, we're going to lose it, and we're going to think what the heck happened here. So I really think that this is the time. I think Senator Johnston hits the nail on the head; there is a wave band now is the moment to catch that wave. And if we don't, I think we lose it in our own peril. >> Grover Norquist has a pledge that he has members sign about taxes, and they all sign or refuse to sign, and it's a big political issue. We need to make campaign finance and expenditures a political issue like that. The way to do it is to put in a constitutional amendment, and you ask a member: Are you for limiting contributions by giving the power to the Congress to legislate or not? And it could be a powerful way to mobilize the public. You know, I'm for all these little things that we would do, you know the FEC, this bill. People haven't heard of the FEC, but they would probably support you. But that's not the way to get a mobilized force going, which is what we need to do. And the way to do that is with the constitutional amendment and ask people yes or no, are you for it. >> JEFF SHESOL: We'll, let that be the last word. Thanks, all of you, for sharing your experience. (Applause) >> JEFF SHESOL: Thank you.


Republican primary

The South Carolina Republican Party held their primary on October 30, 2001. Wilson won 75 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff election.

Republican Primary
Candidate Votes %
Joe Wilson 34,646 75.5
Joe Grimaud 6,784 14.8
Stew Butler 1,881 4.1
Richard Chalk 1,455 3.2
Clyde T. Cobb 1,115 2.4

General election campaign

The Republican Party was on the rise in South Carolina and there was a great deal of enthusiasm among its voters. Additionally, the 2nd had long been a Republican stronghold; it had been in GOP hands without interruption since a 1965 special election. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party was clearly on the decline and was expected to fare poorly in the upcoming 2002 elections. Therefore, it was generally understood that Wilson had clinched a seat in Congress with his primary victory.

As expected, Wilson scored a decisive victory in the general election and he was sworn into Congress the very next day.

Election results

South Carolina's 2nd Congressional District Special Election Results, 2001
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Joe Wilson 40,355 73.1 +16.1
Democratic Brent Weaver 14,034 25.4 -15.4
Libertarian Warren Eilertson 420 0.8 -0.5
Constitution Steve LeFemine 404 0.7 +0.7
No party Write-Ins 1 0.0 0.0
Majority 26,321 47.7 +31.5
Turnout 55,214
Republican hold

See also

External links

This page was last edited on 3 May 2017, at 18:14
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.