April 1997 Home   Newsletters

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President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Annual Meeting
Freedom of Information - County Style? (Evangeline Funk)
Women's Coalition
Campaign Finance
Campaign Loans
State Convention
Planning & Zoning Update
Making Democracy Work
Membership
Neighborhood Board Elections (Arlene Ellis)
In Memoriam
Civil Liberties and the Internet
McLaughlin Group
Nationalization of News and the Newsification of Politics (insert) (Beverly Keever)

Campaign Loans

FEDERAL

The following are excerpts from Congresswoman Mink's address to the House of Representatives on February 26, l997.

"Mr. Speaker, the politics of loopholes has angered the general public. We need to stop procrastinating about changes that need to be made in our campaign financing."

"Today, candidates for Federal office may obtain unlimited, unsecured loans from banks to finance their campaigns. Banks are able to bankroll their campaigns. Banks are able to bankroll their chosen candidates by obtaining a mere signature on a loan form without obtaining security for repayment, as is customary in their normal course of business."

"When do these unpaid loans, secured by no assets, become an illegal contribution by a bank? If a bank is not permitted by law to make a contribution to a Federal candidate, how is it allowed to make an unsecured loan? And what happens when the loan is not repaid? Who gets stuck? All the bank's depositors?

I have introduced a bill, H.R. 783, that prohibits all Federal candidates from making a unsecured loan.

This bill also requires that such unsecured loan be repaid within 90 days after the enactment of the bill, and in the interim, prohibits candidates who currently have an unsecured loan from accepting personal funds from a board member or officer of the bank who holds the loan."

The ability of banks, using depositors' money, to advance money to a candidate is wrong and invites corruption. This practice must be outlawed."

STATE

In a rare showing of unanimity, the Campaign Spending Commission, Democratic Party of Hawaii, Republican Party of Hawaii, Green Party, Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters all testified in opposition to the House Bill 140 as amended and voiced their preference for the Senate companion measure S.B. 831, S.D. 2. The Senate bill provided that non-candidate loan amounts not repaid by election day shall be treated as contributions, and thus any contribution in excess of existing contribution limits would be subject to the sanctions applicable to excessive contributions. The final outcome of the bills is that a $10,000 limit is set on non-candidate loans with a repayment date of one year. Although the final bill that passed is not completely satisfactory, we believe that it is a first step toward closing the campaign loan loophole. We will be back at the legislature next year.

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