TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP BLASTS CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING WITCH HUNT

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
September 3, 1997/10:00 a.m. (202) 467-5300

(Washington, D.C.) – At a Capitol Hill news conference today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) joined other independent public policy groups in criticizing the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee for issuing overly-broad subpoenas requesting information on “illegal and improper” fundraising activities during the 1996 presidential campaign.  CAGW is one of 26 non-profit advocacy groups subpoenaed by the committee in July.

“It is clear from the subpoenas that the committee is on a fishing expedition, hoping to find a few nuggets of dirt to distract the public and defer attention from Congress’ utter failure to enact campaign finance reform,” remarked CAGW Chairman Jack Anderson.  “I strongly urge the committee to stop wasting the taxpayer’s money on this unnecessary and unconstitutional witch hunt.”

Besides going well beyond the committee’s original mission to uncover illegal campaign fundraising activities, the subpoenas raise serious Constitutional questions.  “We are determined to see that our First Amendment rights – to assemble in groups, to speak freely, and to petition the government – are not trampled on,” Anderson stated.

By requiring public policy groups to disclose confidential internal documents and strategic plans that have absolutely nothing to do with campaign activities, the subpoenas are far broader than those held unconstitutional in several recent Supreme Court cases.  In addition, compliance with the subpoenas would impose an extraordinary burden on CAGW and other groups.

CAGW intends to provide a response to the committee’s legitimate requests, along with its objections to certain unconstitutional and burdensome aspects of the subpoena, by the committee’s September 5 deadline.

Anderson concluded his remarks by urging the committee to concentrate its efforts on illegal campaign activities, instead of legal advocacy of public policy issues.  “After all,” said Anderson, “the real crooks will not be tracked down as long as congressional cops are harassing innocent bystanders.”

CAGW is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency, and mismanagement in the federal government.  For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Jim Campi at (202) 467-5300.

 

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