It am saddened that today I must veto legislation passed in Congress to reform how we finance our election campaigns.
During my own campaign I outlined several principles that I believed are essential to restore public confidence in how we, your elected employees, conduct election campaigns. But this is not about what I would prefer versus what the Congress passed. Reasonable people can disagree on any course of action as long as both sides are committed to a solution that is best for America.
I am faced with a difficult choice. I have stated in the past that the Congress could not rely on me to save them from ill considered or unworkable solutions. I suppose it would be best if I signed this bill into law and let everyone live with the consequences.
After reviewing the current bill I have decided that while Congress has produced a bill with several serious flaws.
- Restricting the political speech of ordinary Americans and their associations, such as the Sierra Club or the NAACP, by prohibiting criticism of incumbents within 60 days of an election is clearly unconstitutional.
- Exempting some incumbent candidates from spending limits on campaigns in certain circumstances. When carve out exceptions to every rule it makes a mockery of the basic principle that no person is above or below the law.
I appreciate the hard work and good faith efforts of people on both sides of this debate. I can only conclude by saying that if Congress acts quickly and mends this legislation, I will be happy to sign it.