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Chamber Disappointed By Supreme Court Decision--Campaign Finance Restrictions Bad for Voters

Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce said it was disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold changes to campaign finance laws, making it more difficult for voters to learn about candidates and issues in the days before an election.

"Prohibiting the use of TV and radio ads in the days and weeks right before an election will blindfold voters just as they are interested in learning about the candidates and the issues," said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. "This decision is a disappointing step back toward less information, fewer options and restricted speech."

A broad array of public interest groups opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms – including the U.S. Chamber and labor unions – arguing that bans on issue advocacy were unconstitutional restrictions of free speech. The Chamber also contended that provisions in the legislation that exposed organizations that have regular contact with government officials to charges that their independent public speech was unlawful coordination violated constitutional protections of due process.

"Our commitment to political advocacy is steadfast and we will continue to be heard on pro-business issues," said Donohue. "The issues of government taxes, spending, federal regulations and legal reform are too important to the business community, to workers and to the economy for us to be silent."

The Chamber will promote pro-business and pro-growth policies and candidates in the 2004 election cycle through issue advocacy, phone banks, direct mail, local candidate forums and meetings, as well as fundraising.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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