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ADDITIONAL PUBLICITY OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS MADE TO
COMMITTEE ON ELECTION OF PRESIDENT
H. R. 6851
FEBRUARY 21, 28, AND MARCH 13, 1924
HON. WILLIAM TYLER PAGE
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
ADDITIONAL PUBLICITY OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS MADE TO POLITICAL PARTIES, ETC.
COMMITTEE ON ELECTION OF PRESIDENT,
VICE PRESIDENT, AND REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Hays B. White (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. We will proceed to a consideration of Mr. Cable's bill, H. R. 6851. We will start with Mr. Page.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM TYLER PAGE, CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. PAGE. Under the campaign contribution laws the Clerk of the House is made the receptacle of statements made thereunder, which statements are filed within the time prescribed by the law, both preceding and after the campaign. The post-election statements are filed about December 1. From that time on, no statements are filed until a recurring primary or election. Some months elapse before statements are again filed, so that during the greater part of the year no statements of candidates, nor of political committees, are filed under the existing law, because the law fixes the time in which they shall be filed. They are required to be filed, in case of a primary election, if that feature of the law is still extant, not less than 10 days nor more than 15 days before such election; and within 15 days after the election, and then again, before a general or special election, and within 30 days after such election. The time in which the statements are required to be filed is comparatively of short duration. During the greater part of the year no statements are required to be filed, except in isolated cases of a special election.
Now, a campaign-and I take it this is what is desired to be brought out-a campaign of an individual candidate may actually commence long before it commences legally or technically, before he files the required papers, if the laws of his State requires that to be done, the campaign may be under way. He may know, for instance that he has no opposition in the primary, and he acts accordingly. He may receive, during that period of time, contributions, and he may make expenditures; but, strictly speaking, and keeping within the law, he accounts only for such contributions and expenditures as may be a matter of record with him from the time his campaign actually begins.
Mr. CLEARY. Do you mean, Mr. Page, from the time of his nomination?
Mr. PAGE. No; from the time he actually gets out into the field. Mr. TYDINGS. That is the purpose of this bill, to cover that feature?
Mr. CABLE. Yes; and political committees also.
Mr. PAGE. Now, in regard to political committees. The law defines a political committee. It might be well to refer to that definition, and I think that definition is carried in the Cable bill. [Reading:]
The term political committee, under the provisions of this act, shall include the national committees of all political parties, and the national congressional campaign committees of all political parties, and all committees, associations, or organizations, which shall in two or more States influence the results or attempt to influence the results of an election at which Representatives to Congress are to be elected.
Mr. CABLE. That is not in this bill, Mr. Page. The senatorial committee is not named in that definition, but it comes under its terms.
Mr. PAGE. Yes, sir; and statements of receipts and expenditures of a senatorial committee are filed with the Clerk of the House. Now, in 1920, having observed that in that presidential campaign certain organizations, for some reason or other, had not filed with the Clerk of the House any statements under this law, perhaps feeling themselves exempt from its provisions on account of the character of the organizations, and knowing that certain associations were acting politically, I obtained as nearly as possible from the Library of Congress a list of such organizations and sent to them copies of the law without comment. My duties under this law are purely ministerial. It is not for me to say whether an organization. politically active, comes within the purview of the law or not. That was for the officers of such associations to determine. Thinking that perhaps they had never seen the law, I merely brought it to their attention. It had the effect of causing to be filed with me a number of statements from such organizations which had never before been filed under the law. In several instances protest was made that the organization in question did not come within the purview of the law, and in another case protest was made that the organization was educational in its scope and purpose and not political. In all such cases I simply said that that was for them to determine.
Now, one feature which has proved somewhat embarrassing, gentlemen, is this, and I have had it brought to my attention in a number of individual cases by Members of the House who were candidates for reelection. Men have come to me conscientiously desiring to keep within the law, and have voluntarily said:
I know what my receipts have been, and I know what my expenditures have been, and I have placed them in this statement to which I have sworn. I also know that in my district certain committees and certain organizations have worked in the interest of my election, but I have no knowledge whatever of what their receipts or expenditures have been.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Page, let me ask you a question. Did there ever come to your knowledge any case where individuals, on their own motion and unsolicited, had spent money? Do you remember any such case?