The Congressional Accountability Project (CAP) criticized the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for failure to file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) a critical pre-election report disclosing expenditures and receipts between October 1 and October 16, 1996. Consequently, citizens will be unable to review an official report prepared by the DNC for the FEC on financing of the Democratic Party during this pre-election period until after the November 5 election.
"This is a blatant attempt by the Democratic Party to subvert what little is left of the laws and rules protecting citizens against the overwhelming power of money in politics," said Gary Ruskin, Director of the Congressional Accountability Project.
The Democratic Party has been mired in scandal recently regarding solicitation and acceptance of campaign contributions from foreign persons and interests, including the Jakarta-based Lippo Group. The DNC failure to file this critical pre-election report raises further questions about the financing of the Democratic Party, and in particular, the identities of its soft money contributors. "What is the Democratic Party hiding, and why are they hiding it?" Ruskin asked.
The DNC is claiming that it has made no expenditure during this pre-election reporting period, and therefore does not have to file a pre-election report. Typically, political parties raise and spend great sums of money in the month before an election.
"Will Democratic Party Chairman Don Fowler sign an affidavit swearing that the Democratic Party has spent not one dime to support any Democratic candidate for federal office?" Ruskin asked.
The DNC is also asserting that it will release a list of contributors to the Democratic Party during October 1 to October 16. Such disclosure is not adequate, because it does not meet the statutory requirement of disclosure to the Federal Election Commission.
Expenditure and receipt disclosure by parties and candidate committees helps citizens and reporters to track who is attempting to purchase influence. "Who is bankrolling the Democratic Party, and how much influence money they are paying," Ruskin asked. "In failing to file this critical report, the Democratic Party is showing utter contempt for our democracy."