Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

Adopted by the 108th Annual Convention of the
Central Conference of American Rabbis June, 1997

Background

In March 1997, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), along with other national denominations, was asked to pledge its support for Project Independence. Project Independence is a national grassroots movement, initiated by the public interest organizations Common Cause and Campaign for America, the goal of which is to galvanize public frustration with the present campaign finance system and turn that frustration into an organized effort to pass meaningful campaign finance reform. As a first step, Project Independence seeks to gather the signatures of 1,776,000 Americans on a petition to Congress urging the enactment of campaign finance reform legislation by July 4th, 1997, using the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1997 as the framework for Congressional action. Thousands of citizens have already signed up to collect signatures in their communities, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) has been asked to mobilize synagogues across the country to participate in this signature drive.

Under the authority of previous UAHC campaign finance reform resolutions, on February 13, 1997, Rabbi David Saperstein joined leaders of other religious denominations throughout the nation to encourage the passage of campaign finance reform legislation reflecting the general principles of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1997. This act would ban soft money, ban or restrict political action committees (PACs), prohibit bundling; restrict out-of-state contributions; and strengthen Federal Election Commission (FEC) enforcement. Some in our community have expressed concerns over the following provisions: the ban on bundling, the restriction of out-of- state contributions and the ban on political action committees, but prior UAHC and CCAR resolutions support the principles of this campaign finance reform bill.

THEREFORE, the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism resolves to

  1. Support and participate in Project Independence and similar coalitional campaign finance reform efforts;

  2. Support the general principles outlined in the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1997; and,

  3. Support more significant limitations and restrictions on bundling, out-of-state contributions, and political action committees, while opposing their outright ban.