May 1991 Home   Newsletters

June-July 1991

August 1991

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Charter Commission
Campaign Reform (Daniel K. Akaka)
Motor Voter Registration Up-Date
Permit Modification for Storage on Johnston Atoll
League Testifies on Fixed Rail Route
Viewpoint for KHPR
Letters - Mahalo from Local 5 (Berna Iosua)
Letters - Environmental Awareness (Warren Poslusny)
Charter Review Meeting
Letters - Donald Wolbrink Chapter Achievement Award (Tom Fee)
Letters - The Public Reporter (Patsy T. Mink)

Campaign Reform

The following is a letter from Senator Daniel Akaka dated June 5, 1991. The letter is followed by excerpts from Senator Akaka's address to the Senate on May 22, 1991. The complete text printed in the Congressional Record can be obtained by calling the office.

Dear Ms. Ellis:

Because you have contacted me in the past regarding campaign finance and reform, I thought you would be interested to know that the Senate recently adopted the Senate Elections Ethic Act.

Among other things, the legislation would establish voluntary, flexible limits on Senate campaign expenditures for both incumbents and challengers. In addition, it would ban contributions by political action committees (PACS) and prohibit Senators from accepting honoraria.

Enclosed is a copy of my statement supporting this important legislation as it appeared in the Congressional Record.

Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding matters of concern to you.

Aloha pumehana,
Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Senator

Senate -- May 22, 1991

"Competitive elections are crucial to this body's continued ability to respond to the Nation's many problems. Elections should enable our citizens to express their political preferences and to turn out of office those who have violated the public trust.---

At the present time, however, the high cost of campaigns are deteriorating the trust in this institution. The decline in trust is reflected in low voter turnout, nationwide, at all levels of government.---

The high cost of campaigns has discouraged qualified individuals from accepting the financial challenge of seeking public office. It has also kept incumbents too busy raising funds. The money chase diminishes the amount of time that we, as Senators spend on the people's business.---

We must reassert that votes are the most important political currency. We need to reinvigorate the democratic ideal that all citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in this country's governance.---

High cost campaigns have already reduced the competitiveness of elections. Last year, 68 congressional seats went unopposed: 4 in the Senate and 64 in the House. Regardless of how much money is spent, the reduced competitiveness of elections causes there to be less political discussion.---

Moreover, adherence to these spending limits will communicate to the voters that a candidate wants to revive the integrity of the political system. Perhaps if we speak a little more quietly during campaigns, people will listen harder and true communication will increase.---

The legislation before us would eliminate campaign practices that could be used to circumvent the proposed spending limits, such as soft money expenditures-those funds that are not regulated under Federal law, independent expenditures and bundling of contribution. The legislation would attempt to bring all campaign spending out into the sunshine so to speak.

Mr. President, I am proud to serve in the Senate. My colleagues are people of integrity, who hold a deep commitment to public service. Fundamentally, the integrity of this institution depends upon each Senator's moral compass. The legislation before us cannot substitute for that. But, the legislation can change the context in which each individual makes, his or her personal decisions. Our current campaign finance process forces good people to make seemingly bad choices in order to serve the public. Hopefully, a new system will permit people to run for and serve in Congress with integrity and the complete trust of the voters."

Daniel K. Akaka

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