October 31, 2005

Dear Representative:

The undersigned groups strongly oppose H.R.1606, sponsored by Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), which would open huge new loopholes for corrupt soft money to be used by federal candidates, parties, corporations, labor unions and wealthy donors in federal campaigns.

H.R. 1606 is controversial legislation that is scheduled for a suspension calendar vote on Wednesday in a stealth attack with little notice.

We recognize, as do most others, that the growth of the Internet is an important and positive development for political discourse and activities, and for increasing the number of small donors in politics, an important goal for those of us who support campaign finance reform. The blanket Internet exemption in H.R. 1606, however, is not necessary for individual bloggers communicating on their own Web sites to be exempt from campaign laws.

The blanket Internet exemption in H.R. 1606 would wrongly allow federal candidates to coordinate with corporations, labor unions and wealthy donors in the expenditure of unlimited amounts of soft money to purchase Internet banner and video ads supporting their federal campaigns or attacking their opponents. The Internet exemption also would wrongly allow state political parties to spend unlimited amounts of soft money to finance ad campaigns on the Internet that support or oppose federal candidates.

A USA Today/CNN Gallup Poll recently found that eighty-one percent of the American people believe corruption in government is an extremely or very important issue. H.R. 1606, however, would restore the ability for corrupt, unlimited soft money to influence Members of Congress.

We strongly urge you to vote against H.R. 1606.

Campaign Legal Center
Common Cause
Democracy 21
League of Women Voters
Public Citizen
US PIRG