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Reform Jewish Leader Welcomes Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Key Campaign Finance Reform Provisions

Pelavin: By removing any constitutional doubts about the most important components of BCRA, the Supreme Court has sent a clear message that a democracy of the people is built upon the strength and passion of one person's voice, not the size of his or her wallet.

Contact:Alexis Rice or Rob Levy
202.387.2800

WASHINGTON, December 10, 2003 - In response to today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding key features of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Today's decision by the United States Supreme Court, upholding the key provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, is a strong statement of support for this vital piece of legislation, which works to abate the pernicious influence of money in our electoral system. The Court upheld BCRA's ban on the raising and soliciting of "soft money" contributions to federal elections and its limitation on "issue ads," which are often thinly-veiled candidate endorsements, in the weeks prior to an election. For too long, powerful interests have wielded vastly disproportionate influence on our political process, using unregulated "soft money" contributions to leverage pressure on a range of issues. While BCRA is not a panacea, today's ruling is a significant step on a long road toward a democracy where a person's wealth no longer determines his or her political influence.

Campaign finance reform is not merely an esoteric technical issue of election regulations, but an issue that is deeply intertwined in the ethical and moral fabric of our nation. Thousands of years ago the Bible warned against mingling money and politics. Deuteronomy 16 states, "You shall not judge unfairly: you shall know no partiality; you shall not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just." A democracy without campaign finance restrictions undercuts the efforts of social justice advocates, reduces voter access to elected officials, erodes moral standards in government institutions, and breeds distrust and alienation.

By removing any constitutional doubts about the most important components of BCRA, the Supreme Court has sent a clear message that a democracy of the people is built upon the strength and passion of one person's voice, not the size of his or her wallet.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis .



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