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July 31, 1975 Policy

Federal Campaign Financing


American Bar Association

Standing Committee on Election Law

Adopted by the House of Delegates
August 1975

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association adopts the following Statement of Principles concerning campaign financing and supports legislation which includes these principles:

  1. Disclosure - There should be full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures in excess of minimal amounts.
  2. Contribution Limitations - Campaign contributions to candidates and political parties, including contributions by the candidates and their families, should be limited to reasonable amounts.
  3. Expenditure Limitations - There should be no statutory limitations placed on campaign expenditures by candidates, parties, and independent citizens and groups.
  4. Public Financing -

A. Partial public financing of congressional and presidential elections
is a desirable means of providing a floor for campaign funds and for
promoting and ensuring an effective and competitive electoral
process and minimizing the importance of wealth and the need for
large contributions.

B. Congress should examine alternate methods of such financing with
special consideration given to the following:

i. Funding to candidates and parties based partially upon a
contemporary measure of support rather than solely upon
the basis of past performance;

ii. Eligibility for funding determined by a formula that
recognizes the importance of citizen preference and support;

iii. Simultaneous public funding to all candidates;

iv. Fair and equitable treatment of minor parties and
independent candidates;

v. The administrative cost involved in the distribution of public
funds to candidates.

Federal election laws should be administered by a single, independent agency entrusted with effective enforcement power and the resources to discharge its responsibilities.