Let's Pass Real Campaign Finance Reform|
Most of what we hear on the media about
"campaign finance reform" constitutes political
posturing and "spin" about proposals that would do
nothing to correct campaign abuses, but would do a
great deal to interfere with the First Amendment right
of citizens to spend our own money for the candidates
of our choice. The so-called "campaign finance
reform" bill bouncing around in Congress would
regulate and limit the rights of private organizations to
talk about issues in the context of elections (as, for
example, publishing a voter's guide), while at the same
time allow Big Media (the television networks, Ted
Turner, the Washington Post, etc.) the unrestricted right
to express their views and influence public debate
through biased news coverage.
Real campaign finance reform should not be
directed toward stopping citizens and associations of
citizens from spending their own money for candidates
and causes they support. Real campaign finance
reform should be directed toward the abuse of taking
money out of the paychecks of citizens and spending it
for candidates and causes they oppose.
This is exactly what the unions have been doing for
years. Unions collect billions (not just millions) of
dollars every year in mandatory dues and fees from
their members. Employers facilitate this whopping
windfall by doing all the clerical work necessary to
deduct these "contributions" from individual employees
before they ever get their hands on their own earnings.
Unions currently use a portion of the dues plus
other funds withheld from the paychecks of their
members for political campaigns decided by the union
officials, not by the employees from whom the money
is involuntarily (some say surreptitiously) taken.
Millions of dollars earned by union members are
thus spent on partisan politics. These funds are spent
about 95% on Democratic Party candidates and
initiatives, even though surveys show that at least a
third of union members vote Republican. Union
officials are completely free to pursue their own politics
and thumb their noses at their members.
In the 1996 election, the national unions spent $35
million of their members' money on TV advertising to
smear Republican candidates. However, that was only
the tip of the iceberg. Rutgers University Economics
Professor Leo Troy told the House Oversight
Committee that he estimates that the total of
unregulated in-kind political expenditures by the unions
in 1996 was actually $300 to $500 million. This vast
sum came out of the pot of $8 billion that the unions
collect in dues each year (an average of $500 from each
of 16 million members).
Most Americans haven't protested this outrage
because they don't know about it. Most union
members don't protest because it isn't career-smart to
bite the hands of their union bosses.
Eagle Forum has supported efforts to remedy this
abuse at least since August 1995 when the Phyllis
described it as "the Republicans' most
urgent task." We pointed out that the two big teacher
unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and
the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), have an
estimated annual revenue of $1 billion and "walk in
lockstep in support of high taxes, Big Government,
total control of education policies, and Democratic
candidates." We urged that states "make it illegal for
the NEA and the AFT to enjoy the enormously valuable
privilege of having school districts (i.e., the
government) make payroll deductions for union dues
and Political Action Committee (PAC) funds from
teachers' salaries and transmit such funds to the
Despite significant grassroots efforts, the power of
the teacher unions is so great, especially at the 50 state
capitols, that only three states have been able to pass
legislation to correct this campaign finance abuse.
Washington State passed a voters initiative in 1992
making it illegal for employers to deduct money from
workers' pay and forward it to the unions' political
funds without the written consent of the individual
union member. This initiative was bitterly opposed by
the unions, but it was popular with the voters, passing
by a 72% majority. The Michigan State Legislature
passed a similar law in 1994, and it was upheld by the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1997. In 1998,
Wyoming passed a similar law.
These laws are powerful. Within months of the
Washington law taking effect, the number of teachers
willing to finance their union's political agenda fell to
only 8,000 from a previous 45,000. The number of
public employee union members who made PAC
contributions after passage of the initiative fell from
over 40,000 to 82. (That's not a misprint.)
Paycheck Protection Plan
Trend-setting California is about to accelerate this
movement by passing real campaign finance reform.
On June 2, Californians will vote on the Campaign
Reform Initiative (CRI), also called the Paycheck
Protection Plan, which, if passed, will prohibit monies
from being automatically taken out of workers'
paychecks for political purposes without their written
CRI will prohibit employers from making
automatic deductions (called a checkoff) from any
employee's pay for political contributions or
expenditures without annual, written authorization. As
one of the Orange County authors described it, CRI is
based on the simple premise that, "If you want to take
someone else's money to fund your political campaign,
you're going to have to get their permission first."
In addition to the checkoff for transfers to political
funds, CRI prohibits unions from using any portion of
a member's dues for political purposes without each
member's annual, written authorization. The
designated form for the "Authorization for Political Use
of Fees" must contain the disclaimer that the employee
is "not obligated to sign" and that it is "completely
voluntary" and cannot "affect your employment."
California unions spent $12 to $15 million on
political candidates and causes in 1996. Unions
nationwide are spending $20 to $30 million to defeat
the CRI. In one of the more egregious recent examples,
the Teamsters gave $195,000 to the 1996 campaign to
legalize medical marijuana in California. In 1993, the
California Teachers Association spent $12 million of
members' dues to defeat Proposition 174, the school-choice initiative.
Public opinion surveys show overwhelming support
for giving union members the choice of whether or not
to fund their union's political activities. The
Washington Post/ABC News poll reported 82%
support, CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll reported 72%
support, and the California Field poll reported 66% of
Democrats and 70% of union members in favor.
The chairman of the CRI campaign is Indiana
businessman J. Patrick Rooney, who is widely known
as the father of Medical Savings Accounts and one of
the leaders of the school choice movement. He may
also become known as the Father of Paycheck
In 1988 in Communications Workers v. Beck, the
Supreme Court held that union members have the right
to object to union officials collecting and spending
union dues for political purposes or for reasons
unrelated to collective bargaining. It wasn't until 1992
that President George Bush issued an executive order
requiring government contractors to post notices
informing their employees of this right. One of Bill
Clinton's first acts as President was to repeal Bush's
The Beck right is effectively unenforceable.
Surveys show that 78% of union members do not know
that they have the right to get a refund for the portion of
their mandatory dues spent on political activity.
Thomas Jefferson warned us, "To compel a man to
furnish contributions of money for the propagation of
opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."
Right on, Mr. Jefferson!
IMF Bailouts Cause More Bailouts
In a letter to his colleagues, Majority Leader Dick
Armey has identified what he calls the Clinton Doctrine
as the rationale for the Administration's demand that
the American taxpayers pony up $18 billion for the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). Clinton has
already conned the Senate into approving this handout,
but Armey and House members are having second
The presumed purpose of the money is to address
the Asian financial crisis and Clinton is demanding the
money immediately, in one lump sum, with no real
conditions attached. IMF director Michel Camdessus,
a French Socialist, won't tell us what he will do with
the money or what agreements he may have made with
recipients of the money.
Armey calls Clinton's demand one of "breathtaking
audacity." It's audacious not only in the amount, but
also in the fact that we've had no informed public
debate, and the IMF is rejecting Congressional
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin has been peddling
the notion that this enormous appropriation is "cost-free." One of his talking points boasts, "Our
contribution is like putting money in the bank. It
doesn't cost us a dime." As Armey correctly says,
"That's nonsense. If we pass this bill, that money is
gone forever." It would erase the so-called "surplus"
and put us again in budget deficit.
Armey points out that this vast appropriation isn't
just about dealing with the Asian crisis, because the
IMF has already poured billions into Asia and it still
has billions left in assets that we've previously given
the IMF. The plot thickens.
The $18 billion is part of a plan to vastly expand the
mission of the IMF. Camdessus has visions of
grandeur; he wants to build up the fund to $160 billion.
You can be sure he expects to get the biggest portion
from Uncle Sap.
The original mission of the IMF was to lend money
to countries that were temporarily short of cash because
of balance of payment problems or short-term liquidity
needs. In other words, IMF's purpose was to provide
emergency cash to basically sound institutions.
The 1995 Mexican Bailout (which turned out to be
twice as large as originally anticipated) fundamentally
changed this IMF mission by advancing cash to
institutions that were basically unsound. The IMF lent
money to cover the losses of bankrupt Mexican
institutions so they could repay the big New York
banks that didn't want to be left holding the bag on
their foolish loans.
Armey says that this huge policy change explains why bailouts have been escalating ever since. The IMF
bailed out South Korea not once but twice, announcing
it on Christmas Eve in the hope that Americans
The financial crises we are talking about are not
caused by recession, wars, oil shocks, or weather
calamities. An economist himself, Armey has figured
out that "the cause of the bailouts has been the bailouts
themselves." In plain language, the bailouts have led
the big investors in the global economy to believe that
their foolish investments will be made good by the
American taxpayers. Heads the big investors and banks
win, and tails they win, too, while the American
No wonder we hear such constant promotional
sweet-talk welcoming us to the glorious "global
economy." Come into my web, said the spider to the
That, in essence, is the Clinton Doctrine. While he
didn't invent this ripoff of the American taxpayers, he
has taken it to unprecedented heights.
Our sorry experience with the Welfare State has
taught us that we get more of whatever we subsidize.
If we subsidize poverty, we get more poverty; if we
subsidize illegitimacy, we get more illegitimate
children; if we subsidize the homeless, we get more
homeless people. When we subsidized excessively
extravagant federal deposit insurance, we got the
savings and loan debacle. These unrealistic subsidies
encouraged the reckless to gamble with other people's
money, and it ended up costing U.S. taxpayers $150
Likewise, when we subsidize bailouts in foreign
countries, we get more bailouts. The Clinton Doctrine
is to make us pay, and pay, and pay, and the amounts
are staggering. The IMF has already poured enough
funds into the corrupt, bankrupt Asian regimes to make
them believe they can expect the money machine to
keep churning. The Asian bailouts are not only costly
to American taxpayers, they are poison to the recipients
of our dole because, like the liberal welfare programs,
they encourage irresponsibility and dependency.
Armey quotes some savvy financiers, such as
former Treasury Secretary Bill Simon, as urging
Congress to just say No to the IMF. Armey asks:
"How can we acquiesce in a plan to vastly expand an
international agency that covers other people's bad
debts and undermines free market processes the world
Good question. Obviously, we can't. The House
should refuse to appropriate any more taxpayers'
money to the IMF.
Feminist Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Those who say Republican leaders should focus on
the "real issues" instead of on Bill Clinton's scandals are
correct. Republicans ought to be talking about Clinton's
persistent efforts to take over control of classroom
curricula and to move us incrementally into nationalized
health care, as well as his sell-out of American
independence and self-government to a global "web"
through treaties, United Nations conferences, executive
agreements, and the assignment of U.S. troops to
faraway phony "peacekeeping" expeditions.
However, it is irresistible to ponder the fix that Paula
Jones has put the feminists into, and the feminists'
contortions in their vain effort to defend both their
ideology and the President they love. It remains to be
seen whether Paula will be able to convict Bill Clinton
in court, but she has already convicted the feminists of
hypocrisy and double standards, and even the media are
laughing at them.
The funny thing is, the feminists did it to themselves.
As the old saying goes, they made their bed and now
they have to lie in it. They invented the current use of
"sexual harassment." There is nothing in Title VII, the
employment law that prohibits sex discrimination, that
defines or prohibits sexual harassment. Sexual
harassment is wholly judge-made law, and the feminists
have been responsible for its widespread use.
Without the feminists' campaign against sexual
harassment that began with Anita Hill, and their claim
that it is a pervasive problem, there would be no Paula
Jones lawsuit. And without Paula Jones's lawsuit, we
would never have known about Monica, Kathleen,
Dolly, Clinton's perjury, Clinton's obstruction of justice,
and the intimidation of Clinton's bimbos who didn't
keep their mouths shut.
The feminists are claiming that Paula Jones and her
backers just want to "undo the 1992 election" -- they
just can't stand it that Clinton won. Oh, really? That's
exactly what the Anita Hill hearing was all about,
namely, trying to undo George Bush's victory in the
1988 election by denying him his right to name a
conservative Justice to the Supreme Court.
Now the feminists are saying Paula Jones shouldn't
be believed because she "waited too long." But how
long is too long? How can Paula's two-year wait be
"too long" when Anita Hill waited ten years? Paula's
charges are not, like Anita Hill's charges, a last-minute
ambush to prevent her target from achieving high office.
The feminists claim that Paula should not be
believed because she failed to bring her charges during
the 1992 presidential campaign, when it really could
have damaged Clinton. Even some of Clinton's most
faithful backers admit that, if she had, Clinton might not
have been elected. But this argument cuts in favor of
Paula, not against her. It more likely indicates that she
doesn't have any political motive at all.
Judge Susan Webber Wright, who dismissed Paula's
case without giving her a day in court, said that Clinton's
actions were not sexual harassment because there was
only one incident and that wasn't an "outrage." Judge
Wright seems to be trying to invent a new rule that, since
a dog gets one free bite before he is punished, a boss
gets one free grope. If what Clinton did to Paula Jones
isn't an "outrage," then it's hard to say what would be an
outrage in the workplace.
The classic model of sexual harassment, according to
feminist ideologues, is the Big Boss asking sexual favors
of a female subordinate. In feminist dogma, this "power
relationship" automatically creates such a hostile work
environment that the Big Boss need not threaten the
woman in order to be guilty of the sin of sexual
harassment. That's exactly the model of Bill Clinton
and Paula Jones, a minimum-wage clerk with limited
education, just two months on the job, being summoned
by His Honor the Governor, and even escorted to His
Presence by the state police. Anita Hill, on the other
hand, was a lawyer who knew her rights and who could
not have been fired from her civil service job.
The feminists are now alleging that Paula Jones
should be disbelieved because her case is assisted by
some of Bill Clinton's enemies. Well, well! Anita Hill
was surrounded, promoted, and coached by feminists
and liberals who had identifiably political motives to
block the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as Supreme
Court Justice. Anybody who attended the Thomas
confirmation hearings would have seen the whole
assortment of feminists and liberals clustered around her,
including the National Organization for Women, the
National Abortion Rights League, and the staffs of
Senators Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum.
When it comes to sexual allegations that cannot be
positively proved one way or the other because no eye-witnesses exist, most people decide what is credible
based on a pattern of behavior. In Clarence Thomas's
case, despite all the investigative efforts of the liberal
media and the liberal Senate staff, no Second Woman
was unearthed to come forward with similar charges.
On the other hand, Paula's charges have credibility
because of Clinton's pattern of behavior. So, where are
the feminists who are usually so eager to march to the
tune of "he just doesn't get it"?
Paula Jones has done more to damage and discredit
Clinton than all the Republicans. As Pat Buchanan
wrote: "Paula Jones may not have gotten her day in
court, but she got her pound of flesh." Clinton will go
into the history books as an embarrassment to our nation.
Paula Jones has made it easy for the Republicans to
treat Clinton and his propositions with the disdain they
deserve. Why don't they do it?