Gavel To Gavel

Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

Senator John Glenn Talks About House Campaign Finance Investigation

Aired July 2, 1997 - 4:01 p.m. ET

Inside Politics

JOHN GLENN, (D) SENATOR, OHIO, GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: I think we have the opportunity here of doing some great things for this country. I think through the years over the past dozen years or so, the pernicious influence of money in political campaigns has become just intolerable. I think we have to correct it. And these hearings are going to be the most definitive set of hearings to lay the informational base, to really do a good campaign finance reform.

I think we have that opportunity. Now, we've had a rather rocky road up to now, and the disagreements on how we put out subpoenas, whether it's going to really be bipartisan, whether it's all going to be targeted to the Democrats, whether we're going to deal with foreign money, whether we're going to deal with soft money, third party transfers of money -- all these things, we know need to be looked into. And I think we have an opportunity to do a great job here, but we'll just have to work at it as we go along.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In several of the press conferences that you have had with other Democrats...


CROWLEY: ...on the committee -- you come very close to accusing the Republicans and the chairman by implication of trying to obstruct a full view. Do you still hold that view?

GLENN: Well, the Republican leadership has obstructed bringing campaign finance reform to the floor all this year.

CROWLEY: But in terms of the committee itself and the investigation it's doing, do you still feel the Republicans, Chairman Thompson, are trying to shield an investigation of the Republican side of the equation?

GLENN: Well , we thought so for a while and that's the reason we held some of the press conferences we did. We have an agreement that's tentatively being worked out now, where we will get all the subpoenas we've asked for so far. And they have some additional ones that they've asked for too. I've been accused of a lot of things in this -- that just were not true -- of delaying the whole investigation; not true. I don't have the power to delay it. I don't want to anyway.

And I was also accused of trying to block sending a crew overseas to get information on the -- out in the Far East from people that might have something to do with this whole campaign -- the channeling of foreign money in. All I question was whether we wanted to do it at that particular time or not because we weren't able to set up the interviews with people out there, like we thought we would. So, I feel like I've been dealt with unfairly in this, and that's one reason we held the press conferences we did.

CROWLEY: Do you still feel that way? Do you still feel you're being treated unfairly as you go into this?

GLENN: Was I dealt with unfairly before? Yes. We'll have to see now, now that we have sort of a tentative agreement worked out as to how these hearings are to progress. We'll have to see whether it works out as advertised, now, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

CROWLEY: Well, tell me how it's advertised. How do you believe these hearings will go?

GLENN: Well, the way I originally proposed and the way I thought they should deal -- we should deal with the areas like foreign money and look then look at foreign money -- Republican and Democrat, where are the faults? Now, the only proven track of foreign money in so far that we've developed on our side, is what was Haley Barbour and the National Policy Forum, where there is an actual track of foreign money coming into the Republican campaign. They are trying to develop on the other side where money came into the Democratic campaign as has been alleged in the papers. What this does is create such cynicism and doubt about our whole political system -- that is a dangerous thing for the future. That's the reason why I want to take the broadest possible look at this thing.

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