|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 1998
Washington, D.C. – U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) intends to offer an amendment to campaign finance reform legislation requiring an immediate vote by the House to expel any House Member convicted of knowingly accepting a foreign campaign contribution. "My amendment would institute a zero tolerance policy toward any Member that betrays the trust of the voters in such an egregious fashion," said Traficant.
The House is continuing its consideration of eleven different campaign finance reform bills. The House leadership is allowing more than 250 different amendments, including the Traficant amendment, to be offered on the House floor. The major campaign finance reform bills generally change federal campaign finance law with regard to four major issues: 1) the ability of national political parties to raise and distribute money for party building efforts (so-called "soft money"), 2) contribution limits, 3) advertisements by independent groups that advocate certain issue positions, and 4) political spending by labor unions and corporations.
The Traficant amendment amends House rules to require the House to vote within five legislative days after a Member is convicted of knowingly accepting an illegal foreign campaign contribution on whether or not to expel that Member from Congress. Article I, section 5, clause two of the U.S. Constitution authorizes each House of Congress to punish its Members, and, with a two-thirds vote, expel a Member. Under House rules, the House Ethics Committee is charged with investigating allegations of wrongdoing against a Member. The committee can recommend a range of punishments, including expulsion.
"Unfortunately, the ethics process is slow and cumbersome," noted Traficant. "My amendment will ensure that if a Member is convicted of knowingly accepting a foreign contribution the House will act swiftly and decisively. Knowingly accepting foreign contributions is a serious crime. It's time for the House to put up or shut up when it comes to tolerating such activity by its own Members," concluded Traficant.2009