[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[February 27, 1998]
[Page 302]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Letter to Members of the Federal Election Commission on Campaign Finance 
February 27, 1998

To the Members of the Federal Election Commission:
    Yesterday's defeat of comprehensive campaign finance reform 
legislation in the Senate makes it even more imperative that the Federal 
Election Commission (FEC) act to end the soft money system.
    On June 4, 1997, I petitioned the FEC to act within its current 
statutory authority to end the soft money system. Your General Counsel, 
Lawrence Noble, has concluded that the FEC 
does, in fact, have the legal authority to act. This would be a major 
breakthrough for reform. I understand you have asked the General Counsel 
to explore other options--but the inability of the Congress to act on 
this vital public matter underscores how urgent it is that the FEC 
proceed without delay.
    The rules governing soft money are principally the legacy of decades 
of decisions by the FEC. You have it in your power to act now to end 
this system. If no action is taken, then in coming years the fundraising 
arms race that has consumed both parties will only worsen.
    The Senate's failure to pass campaign finance reform legislation 
means the most realistic next steps for reform will come from the 
actions of regulatory agencies, acting within their legal authority, to 
renew our democracy. I thank the FEC for the steps it has taken thus far 
and urge you to press forward to end the soft money system.

                                                      William J. Clinton