Campaign Spending and the Law

June 5, 1946

Report Outline
Big Money in The 1946 Campaign
Excessive Expenditures and Corrupt Practices
Regulation of Campaign Funds by Law
Proposals for Revision of Corrupt Practices Acts
Special Focus

Big Money in The 1946 Campaign

Labor's Stake in Elections to Congress

Campaign spending in connection with the 1946 elections to Congress promises to exceed all previous mid-term records, notwithstanding the limitations of the Hatch Act and other recent corrupt practices legislation. Public attention has been directed to this prospect by the threat of President A. F. Whitney of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, May 25, to lay out $2,500,000 of the union's funds to defeat members of Congress who voted for the emergency strike control bill asked by President Truman. Whitney was first quoted as having pledged the entire resources of his union ($47,000,000) to this end, but he later said the trainmen would use only $2,500,000 for political purposes in 1946.

The Smith-Connally Act of 1943 forbids labor organizations to contribute to election campaigns and the Hatch Act of 1940 put a $5,000 ceiling on political contributions by any individual or organization, but the two political arms of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (C. I. O.-P. A. C. and N. C.-P. A. C.) were able to spend more than $1,300,000 in the 1944 campaign without interference from the Department of Justice. The loopholes in federal law which permitted these expenditures have not since been closed, and labor organizations argue that they cannot be closed without violation of the free speech guarantee in the first article of the Bill of Rights.

If the issue of the right to strike is clearly drawn, the $2,500,000 political fund of the railway trainmen will undoubtedly be matched, and probably exceeded, by the campaign funds of other labor organizations. Even before the President's strike bill was laid before Congress, the C. I. O. was building a campaign chest for 1946 which will reach $5,500,000 if each member of a C. I. O. union makes the desired contribution of $1 to defeat the “anti-labor junta in Congress.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Oct. 11, 1974  Campaign Spending in Europe and America
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Jun. 05, 1946  Campaign Spending and the Law
Apr. 15, 1940  Money in Politics
Jul. 01, 1931  Revision of Federal Corrupt Practices Act
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