Letter to the House in Opposition to the Shays-Meehan bill, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union we are writing to express our opposition to the Shays-Meehan bill, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001, H.R. 2356 as originally introduced and in its subsequent permutations. 

Shays-Meehan (in all its various iterations) would: 

  • Unconstitutionally restrict robust political speech by average citizens prior to federal elections. (Issue advocacy restrictions)    
  • Place restrictions on soft money contributions that support issue advocacy activities (Partial bans on soft money)    
  • Create draconian penalties for non-partisan interactions between groups and federal candidates (So-called coordination)    
  • Shays-Meehan penalizes people of moderate means who want to band together to make their voices heard throughout the year, before during and after federal elections. These bills protect incumbents, wealthy individuals, PACs and the press. We have enclosed a fact sheet that presents our objections to Shays-Meehan in more detail. 

We urge all members of Congress to vote against this legislation. 

Sincerely, 

Laura W. Murphy
Director
Washington National Office

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