The selected comments of California Common Cause Executive Director Ruth Holton quoted in your April 21 article, “Hayden Supports Campaign Reform Initiative for 1996,” created an incorrect impression of the position of the organization. The article suggests that Common Cause is not supporting a recently submitted campaign finance reform initiative because it may be sponsored by gubernatorial candidate Tom Hayden. This is incorrect. We have not yet taken a position on the initiative, which contains many elements we have supported in the past, because it was filed very recently and our board has not yet had an opportunity to consider it. Whether Tom Hayden sponsors or supports the initiative will have no bearing on Common Cause’s position. While it is correct that Common Cause does not endorse political candidates, we have supported initiative measures in the past that were sponsored by candidates.
The article also implies, in part through selected quotations from Holton, that Hayden may only be advancing this reform initiative as a vehicle for his gubernatorial candidacy. That implication is totally inconsistent with the facts. Hayden has for years been one of the most vocal and active supporters of meaningful campaign finance reform in California. While we do not endorse him or any other candidate for governor, we applaud state Sen. Hayden for making campaign finance reform a central part of his platform and of the campaign debate.
We urge the other candidates for governor similarly to make campaign finance reform a top priority. Four elected officials have been convicted of exchanging votes for campaign contributions. The public’s confidence in elected officials is at an all-time low because of the money that is flowing into the state Capitol from special interests. Until the campaign finance system is reformed, public policy will continue to be shaped by the demands of moneyed special interests rather than the needs of the public.
BRADLEY S. PHILLIPS, Chairperson
RUTH HOLTON, Executive Director