For Immediate Release
July 29, 1997
Soft Money. It's Bad Business.
The Campaign Reform Project's Business
Advisory Council Committed to Ending Soft Money
MT. KISCO, NY-"Soft Money. It's Bad Business, " reads the headline of a July 14th advertisement in the Wall Street Journal placed by members of the Campaign Reform Project's Business Advisory Council. The ad is the latest in a series of initiatives the Council has undertaken to help bring about meaningful campaign finance reform.
The Council, whose membership has doubled since it was founded last February, is an association of prominent business leaders committed to ending the current system of campaign financing. Included among the new members are Warren E. Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.; Arjay Miller, Former President of Ford Motor Company; and Robert D. Stuart, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, The Quaker Oats Company. By drawing a connection between a healthy democracy and healthy business, the Council seeks to encourage American business leaders to become part of the solution.
"My colleagues in the business community have told us they are increasingly frustrated with and disgusted by a 'cash race' gone out of control, " said Jerome Kohlberg, Jr., founder of The Campaign Reform Project and Campaign for America, and founder and special limited partner of the investment firm Kohlberg & Co. "They feel the system has become an industry onto itself, caught up in a perpetual cycle that undermines both democracy and genuine business interests. "
The Council is placing a particular emphasis on soft money, urging Congress to ban these contributions before the 1998 elections and calling for a voluntary moratorium on soft money donations.
"CRP's Business Advisory Council, including both Democrat and Republican business leaders, is calling attention to the explosion in soft money contributions. Politicians pay lip service to campaign finance reform while accepting and soliciting large donations, " said Kohlberg. "The business community needs to force Congress' hand by cutting off the flow of funds. In Washington, where dollars talk; their absence will speak volumes. "
With prospects for comprehensive reform dimming in 1997, the Council is calling on Congress to begin the process of reform by enacting two essential changes this year: eliminating soft money and expanding disclosure requirements.
The Campaign Reform Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating citizens, reforming America's campaign finance laws, and revitalizing its democracy. In addition to the Business Advisory Council, The Campaign Reform Project launched the Disclosure Project, a 1996 election campaign highlighting the inadequacy of existing campaign finance disclosure laws and has organized campaign finance forums across the country.
Members of the Council include:
Robert L. Bernstein, Former Chairman/President, Random House George T. Brophy, Chairman, President & CEO, ABT Building Products Corporation Warren E. Buffet, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. Walter Gerken, Chairman of the Equity Board, PIMCO Advisors L.P. Alan Hassenfeld, Chairman & CEO, Hasbro, Inc. Ivan Houston, Chairman, Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company Melvin B. Lane, Former Publisher & Co-Chairman, Lane Publishing Co. (Sunset Magazine) Morton H. Meyerson, Chairman, Perot Systems Corp. Arjay Miller, Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Former President, Ford Motor Company Thomas S. Murphy, Chairman Emeritus, ABC, Inc. Sol Price, Price Entities Sanford R. Robertson, Chairman, Robertson, Stephens & Co. Arthur Rock, Arthur Rock & Co. Richard Rosenberg, Former Chairman & CEO, Bank of America Donald Stone, Former Chairman, Merrill Lunch Specialists Robert D.Stuart, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, The Quaker Oats Company Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, Former Chairman & CEO, Merck & Co. A. C. Viebranz, Former Sr. Vice President, External Affairs, GTE Corporation