For Immediate Release
February 20, 1997
The Campaign Reform Project Forms
Business Advisory Council
Business Leaders Press for
Reform of Campaign Finance Laws
MT. KISCO, NY -- The Campaign Reform Project's founder, Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. announced the formation of the Project's Business Advisory Council today. The Council is an association of prominent business leaders who have joined together to assist in reforming efforts to reform the existing campaign finance system.
The Campaign Reform Project was formed by Kohlberg in 1995 to educate Americans about the campaign finance system and give them a stronger voice in reforming it. The creation of the Business Advisory Council takes campaign finance reform in a new direction by tapping into the knowledge and authority of American business leaders. The members of the Council agree that today's finance rules have increasingly soured the public and are undermining the democratic system.
"By all accounts, this last campaign cycle has shown further disintegration in the current financing system. The rules are collapsing," stated Kohlberg. "The time is ripe for business leaders to stand up and help repair a broken system." Kohlberg, founder and senior partner of the investment firm Kohlberg & Co., has had decades of leadership experience in investment banking and corporate finance. His decision to launch the Campaign Reform Project grew from his belief that the existing campaign finance system is not serving American democracy.
The Business Advisory Council is the first serious effort to engage American business leaders in becoming part of the solution. The Council will bring a new voice to the campaign reform movement, adding credibility and a unique perspective to the Campaign Reform Project's public education efforts. Council members will seek to raise awareness in the business community and the public at large of the need for comprehensive reform.
"By providing a critical link between business leaders and the campaign finance reform movement, the Council will enable the Campaign Reform Project to create fresh momentum for change," Kohlberg said. "My experiences have led me to conclude that the system will only be cleaned up with the help of American business leaders."
Members of the Council include Robert L. Bernstein, Former Chairman / President, Random House; Morton H. Meyerson, Chairman, Perot Systems Corp.; Thomas S. Murphy, Chairman Emeritus, ABC, Inc.; Sanford R. Robertson, Chairman, Robertson Stephens & Co.; Richard Rosenberg, Former Chairman & CEO, Bank of America; Donald Stone, Former Chairman, Merrill Lynch Specialists; Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, Former Chairman & CEO, Merck & Co., Inc.; and A. C. Viebranz, Former Sr. Vice President, External A ffairs, GTE Corporation.
"American business suffers when our democracy withers," Kohlberg said. "The Council will reach out to boardrooms across America to draw a connection between a healthy democracy and healthy business."
The Campaign Reform Project's most recent initiative was the Disclosure Project, a 1996 election campaign highlighting the inadequacy of existing campaign finance disclosure laws. The organization ran several ads in major newspapers across the country, urging voters to ask candidates to provide greater detail in disclosing their funding sources.
The Campaign Reform Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating citizens, reforming America's campaign finance laws and revitalizing its democracy.