- April 9 - The Sierra Club announced that it will run radio ads in three
states calling on Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, Senator Gordon Smith
of Oregon and Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas to support meaningful
campaign finance reform. Although these Senators voted against the
McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, the Sierra Club urges them to
vote in the future to clean up politics and our environment.
"Americans understand the connection between a clean environment and clean
elections. This bill is a first step in giving power to American voters,
not just the highest special interest bidder," said Carl Pope, Executive
Director of the Sierra Club. "Americans don't want to see our clean air or
drinking water safeguards sold to the highest bidder.
"We are disappointed that Senator Bob Smith, Senator Gordon Smith and
Senator Tim Hutchinson voted to continue the flow of polluters' cash into
campaign coffers," continued Pope. "We wish they had stood up for real
campaign finance reform, but we are hopeful that they will support reform
for our campaign system in the future."
The McCain-Feingold bill bans soft money -- unregulated contributions given
to political parties -- and is an important first step in reforming our
campaign system, taking huge, unlimited and unreported donations out of the
campaign system. This means that polluting industries will no longer be
permitted to dump unlimited amounts of money into campaigns. In spite of
these votes, the Senate passed the measure on April 2 by a vote of 59-41.
In the 2000 election alone, the mining industry donated more than $6
million dollars, and now President Bush has rejected a plan to remove
arsenic from our drinking water. The oil and gas industries donated more
than $32 million to candidates and now the Congress and President Bush want
to open the pristine and irreplaceable Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for
The Sierra Club is wary of the increased amounts of money individuals are
permitted to give directly to candidates under the McCain-Feingold bill.
Individual limits have doubled from $1000 to $2000. Only the wealthiest
1/10 of one percent of Americans donate $1000 or more per election and
these increases directly benefit them at the expense of all Americans.
Increasing individual donation limits is not the way to decrease the
influence of money in politics.
To receive a copy of any of the ads, please contact Wendy Balazik at