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Senate Floor: CONGRESSIONAL GIFTS REFORM ACT

  • Frank R. Lautenberg
    Person
  • Slade Gorton
    Person
  • Carl Levin
    Person
  • Ted Kennedy
    Person
  • Carol Moseley Braun
    Person
  • David Durenberger
    Person
  • Strom Thurmond
    Person
  • Bill Bradley
    Person
  • Al D'Amato
    Person
  • Orrin G. Hatch
    Person
  • Bob Dole
    Person
  • Patty Murray
    Person
  • John D. Rockefeller, IV
    Person
  • Harris Wofford
    Person
  • Dianne Feinstein
    Person
  • Mitch McConnell
    Person
  • Phil Gramm
    Person
  • Joe Biden
    Person
  • The Presiding Officer
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  • John Chafee
    Person
  • Wendell Ford
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  • George J. Mitchell
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  • Paul Wellstone
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The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 5

Al D'Amato

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I believe we have \1/2\ hour, equally divided. 14

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 16

Al D'Amato

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Mr. President, I yield 2 minutes of my time to the Senator from Texas [Mr. Gramm]. 18

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 20

Phil Gramm

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Mr. President, I want to thank our dear colleague from New York for his leadership on this issue. 22

Phil Gramm

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I am sure there are some people who are going to try to make this out as a very complicated issue, but it is a very, very simple issue. 23

Phil Gramm

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If you take a look at the Statue of Justice, you will find that the Statue of Justice is a woman holding a scale of justice, but the woman is wearing a blindfold. The basic logic is that justice is aimed at looking only at the facts and giving an objective weighing of the facts so that every American will know that they are being judged on one thing, and that is their behavior relative to the law. 24

Phil Gramm

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If the American judicial system has been built on one principle, that principle is that people are judged not by the color of their skin, not by their ethnic origin, but based on what they do, based on their own conduct. 25

Phil Gramm

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We have before us now a bill that will turn that whole system of justice on its head, a bill that will strip away the blindfold and not only eliminate the system of impartiality, of which we have all been beneficiaries, but will, for the first time, mandate that ethnic origin and race be a major determinant in the setting of a sentence. 26

Phil Gramm

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I believe that whether people get the death penalty or not should be determined solely based on their conduct, whether they committed a terrible crime that justifies that their life be taken in punishment for committing that crime. It ought not to be determined based on who their parents are, based on the color of their skin, based on the ethnic group that they come from. That has always been the system of American justice and it ought to always be. 27

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 29

Al D'Amato

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Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes to the senior Senator from Utah [Mr. Hatch]. 31

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 33

Orrin G. Hatch

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Mr. President, I rise in support of the sense-of-the- Senate resolution. 35

Orrin G. Hatch

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The so-called Racial Justice Act has nothing to do with racial justice and everything to do with abolishing the death penalty. As I have explained in detailed floor statements over the past 2 weeks, the so-called Racial Justice Act would employ an unreliable and manipulable statistical quota to abolish the death penalty nationwide. 36

Orrin G. Hatch

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That is why State attorneys general and district attorneys throughout the country vigorously oppose it. That is why this Senate, with bipartisan majorities, has repeatedly rejected it. That is why we must reject it again. 37

Orrin G. Hatch

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Supporters of the so-called Racial Justice Act argue that the evils that this legislation would bring about are speculative. That is simply not true. We need only look at actual, historical cases to recognize the pernicious effects that this legislation would have. 38

Orrin G. Hatch

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Take, for example, the case of Robert Alton Harris, who committed two brutal murders in 1978. Despite the fact that Harris confessed to the killings at least seven times, Harris managed to abuse the court system for over a decade until he was finally executed in 1992. Significantly, one of Harris' claims was based on an alleged statistical disparity in the imposition of the death sentence based on the race of the victim. Both of Harris' victims were white, and Harris himself was also white. Yet Harris sought to rely on alleged racial discrimination against minority victims. Based on the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in McCleskey versus Kemp, Harris' claim was denied. 39

Orrin G. Hatch

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Had the so-called Racial Justice Act been law when Harris' claim was being considered, there is no doubt that he would have been deemed to have satisfied the flimsy statistical showing needed to establish a fictitious inference that racial discrimination played a role in his receiving the death penalty. Thus, we would have had the bizarre spectacle of a brutal white murderer invoking the rights of hypothetical black victims in order to avoid just punishment for his heinous crimes. 40

Orrin G. Hatch

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Unfortunately, far from being unusual, this would be par for the course if the Racial Justice Act were to become law. Indeed, the heinous killer John Wayne Gacy, a white racist who was convicted of 33 murders dating back two decades and who was executed in Illinois Tuesday morning, would undoubtedly have obtained relief and yet further delay if the so-called Racial Justice Act had previously been in effect. 41

Orrin G. Hatch

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The tremendous -- indeed, prohibitive -- costs that the so-called Racial Justice Act would impose on the States are illustrated by another California case, involving a convicted murderer named Earl Lloyd Jackson. In 1984, the California Supreme Court held that Jackson was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his statistical claim that the death penalty in California was being discriminatorily imposed. 42

Orrin G. Hatch

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Jackson then requested a veritable mountain of statewide homicide data, just as any murderer would do under the so-called Racial Justice Act. The California attorney general's office and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office were forced to create a special task force to marshall a response to Jackson's claims. 43

Orrin G. Hatch

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Over the course of 3 years, State taxpayers expended more than $1 million to prepare for the evidentiary hearing. Ultimately, the hearing was canceled because of the Supreme Court's ruling in McCleskey. But if the so-called Racial Justice Act becomes law, States will either be forced to divert their scarce law enforcement resources into fighting a battle of statistics, or they will have no choice but to abandon the death penalty. 44

Orrin G. Hatch

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As these examples illustrate, the Racial Justice Act is nothing more than a Death Penalty Abolition Act. For this reason, I urge my colleagues to support the sense-of-the-Senate resolution. 45

Orrin G. Hatch

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I also ask unanimous consent that resolutions, statements, and letters from law enforcement officials and victims groups be printed in the Record, along with a letter from 35 Republican Senators to President Clinton. 46

Orrin G. Hatch

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Mr. President, I yield back any time I may have. 225

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 227

Ted Kennedy

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I yield 7\1/2\ minutes to the Senator from Illinois. 229

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 231

Carol Moseley Braun

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I thank the Chair. 233

Carol Moseley Braun

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Mr. President, I think by this point everyone knows my position on the Racial Justice Act, so I will be brief this afternoon. But I have a few important points to make before the Senate votes on the amendment of my colleague from New York. 234

Carol Moseley Braun

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Before voting, I would urge every Senator to read very carefully the language of the D'Amato amendment. The amendment states that the Senate and House conference on crime legislation should, "Totally reject the so-called Racial Justice Act." I would ask my colleagues if this is, in fact, the message we want to send to the conference committee -- that the Senator totally rejects any efforts to correct what every study that has ever been conducted in this area has overwhelmingly demonstrated -- that there are jurisdictions in this Nation, including the Federal Government itself, where the death penalty is administered in a racially discriminatory manner. If this is not the message we want to send into conference, then I would suggest you cast your vote against the D'Amato amendment. 235

Carol Moseley Braun

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I also want to make clear for those who have not actually read title IX of the House crime bill that this Racial Justice Act is much different than previous versions. The current bill imposes a higher burden of proof on the defendant, requiring him to demonstrate a pattern of racially biased death sentences in cases similar to his own, in the jurisdiction that imposed his sentence and at the time his sentence was imposed. In addition, the burden of proof of the prosecutor to rebut this evidence has been lowered, from clear and convincing evidence to a mere preponderance of the evidence. There are no burdensome recordkeeping requirements imposed on the States -- a defendant bears the entire burden of collecting and analyzing data -- and the bill, in its final form, will not apply retroactively. So we are talking about going forward. 236

Carol Moseley Braun

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I would also like to address what the Racial Justice Act does not do. Despite the claims of some opponents, the Racial Justice Act does not eliminate capital punishment. Let me underscore that. It does not eliminate capital punishment. It merely prohibits continued racial discrimination in the administration of the death penalty. So long as death sentences are imposed in a nondiscriminatory manner, they will not be affected under the bill. 237

Carol Moseley Braun

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In order words, this legislation will only affect those death sentences where, taking into account the brutality of the offenses, the prior records of the offenders, and other nonracial characteristics, race is left as the determining factor in the imposition of the death penalty. The only way this legislation could completely eliminate the death penalty is if every death penalty was imposed based on discriminatory factors. 238

Carol Moseley Braun

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Nor will the Racial Justice Act impose a quota system in the death penalty. Nothing could be further from the truth. If death sentences were handed out on the basis of quotas, then they would by definition be handed down on the basis of race. That -- imposing death sentences on the basis of race -- is exactly what this bill, title 9, is designed to prevent. 239

Carol Moseley Braun

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Finally, this will not impose an undue burden on the courts. Every major civil rights bill in modern times has allowed the use of statistics to prove discrimination, whether in housing or employment or education or voting for that matter. The courts have proved quite capable of analyzing statistical evidence in each of these situations. All that proponents of the Racial Justice Act are asking is for Congress to grant someone sentenced to death the same opportunity to present a discrimination claim as we have granted to someone turned down for an apartment. 240

Carol Moseley Braun

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As you may know, Mr. President, I just returned from South Africa and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. 241

Carol Moseley Braun

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Before I left to travel to South Africa for the inauguration, I drew an analogy between the changes occurring in South Africa and the vote on racial justice. I am going to make that same analogy today. Despite the strides this country has taken to overcome its shameful past, there are still situations of apartheid in America, situations where a person's race truly does make a difference in how that person is treated under the law. One of those situations -- and the statistics are very clear in this regard -- is in the administration of the death penalty. One need look no further than the Federal criminal justice system to realize this. Since 1988, the Federal death penalty for drug kingpins, for example, has been sought against 36 defendants -- 4 of those defendants have been white, 4 have been Hispanic, and 28 -- 77 percent -- have been African-American. Keep in mind that 75 percent of the defendants charged under this statute have been white. 242

Carol Moseley Braun

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Mr. President, in closing, I want to urge my colleagues to think about the message this vote will send to the Senate and House conferees. Last Friday I paraphrased a quote from Vaclav Havel that I would like to quote in full today. It describes a phenomenon known as the butterfly effect, which is: 243

Carol Moseley Braun

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Whether a person as an individual supports or opposes the death penalty, I think we can all agree that it should be imposed in a nondiscriminatory manner. 245

Carol Moseley Braun

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I think we can all agree that the facts are what they are. It is not a matter of opinion. The statistics and the numbers that have been talked about in this debate are reality. Including, frankly, in the Federal system. 246

Carol Moseley Braun

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The vote on this amendment today is important and can have a very real effect on how the Senate deals with the issue of racial bias in the administration of our entire system of law, including of course the death penalty. I urge my colleagues to vote against the D'Amato amendment and to send a signal the Senate is committed to addressing this shameful pattern of discrimination. 247

Carol Moseley Braun

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In closing I would also like to say that this is -- this vote, the vote on this amendment -- really is not a vote about crime any longer. I think this body has sent a message very loud and clear that as for crimes that progress in a certain way through the criminal justice system, the death penalty is an appropriate punishment. That has been resolved. 248

Carol Moseley Braun

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The question is if we are going to allow this vote -- which masquerades as a vote about crime -- to get away from us and obscure the fact that it really is a vote about color. Are we going to allow color, are we going to allow race, to play a role and continue to produce the abysmal, embarrassing statistics that we have seen demonstrated on the floor by the opponents of the D'Amato amendment? 249

Carol Moseley Braun

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I think this body is above that. I think this country is beyond that. I think we want to send a signal that we believe in equal justice under the law for all people, without regard to race, without regard to color. And therefore the D'Amato amendment must fall of its own weight. 250

The Presiding Officer

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. 252

Joe Biden

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Mr. President, I spoke in some detail last Friday about why I will oppose the sense-of-the-Senate amendment offered by the Senator from New York. Today, let me summarize my thoughts by making two points: 254

Joe Biden

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First, the Racial Justice Act will not put an end to capital punishment. What the act will do, is require courts to examine competent evidence that a death sentence was imposed for reasons of race, rather than -- as should be the case -- due to the nature of a defendant's crime. 255

Joe Biden

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This imposes no unbearable burden on the courts. Indeed, it is something the courts have long done expertly in a wide variety of contexts, such as housing discrimination, employment discrimination, and discrimination in our schools. 256

Joe Biden

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The act does not mandate the outcome in any case, nor does it mandate that a court must admit any or all evidence a defendant may submit. In fact, the act explicitly confers on the courts the discretion to reject evidence that is not valid or relevant. 257

Joe Biden

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Far from preventing courts from imposing the death penalty in all cases, it simply requires courts in some cases to make one additional inquiry to ensure that race does not determine who will live and who will die. 258

Joe Biden

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Second, it seems to me we should be willing to accept the necessary burden of ensuring that racial discrimination plays no role in determining who gets the death penalty. 259

Joe Biden

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I support the death penalty in appropriate cases, and I included a major expansion of the Federal death penalty in the crime bill the Senate acted on last November. 260

Joe Biden

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At the same time, I have worked to ensure that the procedures that govern imposition of death sentences in our courts are as fair and just as possible. 261

Joe Biden

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A just society must not sentence people to death on the basis of race. 262

Patty Murray

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Mr. President, this resolution directs conferees on the crime bill to reject the House provisions on racial justice, and I intend to vote against it. 264

Patty Murray

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The Senate crime bill expands the death penalty to over 50 new Federal crimes. Inclusion of the Racial Justice Act is important to ensure that the death penalty is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. 265

Patty Murray

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This provision is a civil rights measure designed to eliminate race discrimination in capital cases. It would allow courts to consider evidence of a consistent pattern of racially biased sentencing in similar death penalty cases to determine whether discrimination has occurred in a particular case. 266

Patty Murray

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The defendant would bear the burden of collecting and analyzing the data to show a pattern of racially biased death sentences in factually similar cases in the same jurisdiction. 267

Patty Murray

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The legislation would not apply retroactively so it would not apply to the 2,700 people currently on death row. 268

Patty Murray

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The Racial Justice Act addresses the fact that the death penalty is not sought in all cases that fit the statutory criteria for its imposition. In most jurisdictions, capital punishment laws authorize, but do not require, the death penalty in a large number of cases. Of the many cases eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors pick only a few for capital prosecution. Under the Racial Justice Act, by comparing cases in which the death penalty is sought with similar cases in which it is not sought, the courts will have a mechanism to evaluate whether race was a determining factor. 269

Patty Murray

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I know that the prosecutors in my home State of Washington work very hard to avoid discrimination in the charging, sentencing and imposition of the death penalty. I also know, however, that we have not rid our Nation's criminal justice system of racial discrimination yet. We need to take this responsibility very seriously, especially with regard to the application of the death penalty. 270

Patty Murray

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In 1990, the Government Accounting Office reported that in 82 percent of the studies it reviewed, the race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of a defendant being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty. The GAO report found that those who murdered whites were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered African-Americans. 271

Patty Murray

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Under the Federal death penalty law adopted in 1988 for drug kingpins, 77 percent of the defendants against whom the death penalty was sought have been African-American, even though 75 percent of the defendants under the statute have been white. 272

Patty Murray

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The Racial Justice Act will require prosecutors to charge capital murder without regard to race. It is designed to remedy bias that already exists within the criminal justice system. It will prevent charging decisions that treat cases involving one race as more suitable for the death penalty than cases involving another race. 273

Patty Murray

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Mr. President, I support the Racial Justice Act because it will help eliminate the influence of race in death sentencing. Given the dramatic expansion of the death penalty in the crime bill, I believe this provision must be included. The act will send a clear message to prosecutors across the nation to use race-neutral criteria for seeking the death penalty. And, it will help ensure that similar crimes receive similar sentences. 274

Patty Murray

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I urge my colleagues to reject the resolution before us, and to support the inclusion of the Racial Justice Act in the crime bill. 275

Strom Thurmond

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Mr. President, I rise today in support of Senator D'Amato's amendment. This language makes clear that the crime conferees should reject the provision in the House-passed crime bill which would effectively abolish the death penalty across the Nation, at the Federal and State levels. 277

Strom Thurmond

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The anti-death penalty provision is title IX in the House-passed crime bill and often mislabeled by its proponents as the Racial Justice Act. This language would allow death-sentenced murderers the opportunity to avoid the death penalty by using a statistical quota system to challenge their sentence. We have defeated this legislation time and time again in the Senate when offered by those who are opposed to the death penalty. 278

Strom Thurmond

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Mr. President, to those who claim that this provision is necessary to prohibit a death sentence based on considerations of race, I would point them to the 14th amendment to the Constitution. The 14th amendment, along with other protections, contains a fundamental proposition which prohibits any person from being sentenced to death on the basis of race. 279

Strom Thurmond

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Title IX in the House-passed crime bill would permit a defendant in a capital case to make a showing that race was a statistical significant factor in decisions to seek or impose the death sentence in the jurisdiction in question. Once this minimal standard of a statistical imbalance is shown, a heavy burden of rebuttal is then imposed on State or Federal prosecutors. 280

Strom Thurmond

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Mr. President, I have been a judge and a practicing attorney. It has always been my understanding that individuals are tried on the facts of his or her case, not on the facts, circumstances or statistics from unrelated cases. This has been a fundamental precept in our criminal justice system. Passage of the so-called Racial Justice Act would relegate the outcome of capital cases to statistical assertions from other unrelated capital cases. Needless to say, the focus of the trial should be whether the defendant committed the offense for which he was charged and it should not be overshadowed by statistical jousting. 281

Strom Thurmond

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Clearly capital cases should be race neutral. The proposal in the House bill brings race consciousness into the trial in order to attain a racial balance. This actually heightens the role of an individual's race in capital cases and establishes a quota system in death penalty cases. The guilt or innocence and imposition of the death penalty should turn on the facts of an individual's case having nothing to do with the defendants race or the race of individuals in unrelated cases. 282

Strom Thurmond

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Mr. President, let there be no mistake, title IX in the House-passed crime bill would effectively abolish the death penalty at the Federal and State levels. Also, it completely overturns the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey versus Kemp. In that decision, the Supreme Court held that a defendant who contests his capital sentence on the basis of racial discrimination is required to prove that the decision makers in his own case acted with discriminatory purposes. 283

Strom Thurmond

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The Supreme Court has rejected the statistical theory of racial discrimination in death penalty cases and the Racial Justice Act is a thinly veiled attempt to overturn the Supreme Court on this matter. It is important to note that Justice Powell, writing for the Court in McCleskey, observed that the statistical premise of discrimination advocated by the defendant -- and now as title IX in the House bill -- "throws into serious question the principles that underlie our entire criminal justice system." Mr. President, we will soon go to conference with the House to resolve the differences in the crime bills passed by our respective bodies. We have a good opportunity to pass a comprehensive anticrime measure which the American people deserve. If the conference report is to be adopted, it must be void of title IX from the House bill. This provision is opposed by the National Association of District Attorneys and the National Association of Attorneys General. These are the men and women who have the responsibility for prosecuting death penalty cases all across the Nation on behalf of the American people. I am hopeful that the House conferees will not let the American people down by insisting that this anti-death penalty provision remain in the conference report. 284

Strom Thurmond

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I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to ensure the passage of a responsible comprehensive anticrime bill and the removal of language from the House bill which will abolish the death penalty across the United States. 285

David Durenberger

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Mr. President, I rise to explain why I will oppose the amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the crime bill conferees should reject the Racial Justice Act. 287

David Durenberger

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I make no secret of the fact that I am an opponent of the death penalty. I oppose it for philosophical reasons; I believe it perpetuates the cycle of violence and I believe it is unbecoming for a civilized nation. I also oppose capital punishment for practical reasons; there is no evidence that it deters violent crime, and it actually costs our criminal justice system more to execute a person that it does to incarcerate a person for life. 288

David Durenberger

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However, even those who favor the death penalty should be concerned by evidence that it is not being applied fairly. We all want to believe that justice is blind in America. But I am not so naive as to trust that the ugliness of racial bias no longer festers in our criminal justice system. 289

David Durenberger

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According to a significant body of evidence, minority defendants are much more likely than white defendants to be charged with a capital crime and sentenced to death, especially when the victim was white. All that the Racial Justice Act would do is to let defendants raise a question of unfairness when there is a pattern of racial disparity for crimes with similar factual circumstances. 290

David Durenberger

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The Racial Justice Act would not guarantee that a death sentence will be overturned. The state can rebut the defendant's claim by showing nonracial reasons for the different treatment. A court would be allowed to find discrimination only if race is the only plausible explanation for the sentence of death. And even if the death sentence is vacated, defendants will not go free -- their convictions will stand. 291

David Durenberger

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Opponents of the Racial Justice Act claim that capital cases should be evaluated individually, not on the basis of statistical evidence. But when statistics show pervasive racial disparity for the same type of crimes, it suggests to me that racial bias might be infecting individual cases. The Racial Justice Act would allow courts to consider this suggestion. 292

David Durenberger

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I believe this proposal is a modest step that will provide an additional measure of fairness in the system. If justice is truly blind, there is nothing to fear from the Racial Justice Act. That is why I support the House of Representatives' decision to include it in the crime bill and why I will oppose this amendment. 293

Bob Dole

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Mr. President, I want to take a few moments to express my support for the amendment offered by my distinguished colleague from New York, Senator D'Amato. 295

Bob Dole

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Mr. President, last month, the House of Representatives took a big step backward in the war against crime by adopting something deceptively called the Racial Justice Act. The Racial Justice Act became title IX of the House-passed crime bill. 296

Bob Dole

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Under title IX, a convicted murderer sentenced to death can challenge his capital sentence simply by offering evidence that "at the time the death sentence was imposed, race was a statistically significant factor in decisions to seek or, impose the sentence of death in the jurisdiction in question." Statistical evidence that death sentences were being imposed significantly more frequently, upon persons of one race than upon persons of another race could be used to prove this point. 297

Bob Dole

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The practical effect of all this is to prohibit the death penalty unless it is carried out strictly by-the-numbers, according to rigid death-penalty quotas. Under the Racial Justice Act, all a death-row inmate must do is show that there is a statistical disparity based on his race or the race of the victim, regardless of the specific facts of the specific case. Once the presumption of racial discrimination is raised through statistics, the Government must rebut this presumption by a preponderance of the evidence. The bottom line is that the Government would then have the burden of proving a negative -- that racial factors had nothing to do with the capital sentence. 298

Bob Dole

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Amazingly, the Racial Justice Act would apply retroactively -- potentially reopening the capital sentences of the nearly 4,000 murders now on death row. While all 4,000 may not succeed in getting their sentences reduced, compiling the relevant information from these cases will take many hours and cost the States millions and millions of dollars. 299

Bob Dole

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Last week, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Biden, agreed to work in conference to ensure that the Racial Justice Act provisions apply only prospectively. That's a step in the right direction, but as they say, seeing is believing. And even if retroactivity is eliminated, we still should be concerned about the Racial Justice Act's prospective application. 300

Bob Dole

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Mr. President, the Racial Justice Act is part of a long tradition here in Congress where bad legislation is given a great-sounding name. In some businesses, this is called false advertising. The bottom line is that the Racial Justice Act won't do much to advance the cause of civil rights, but it will do a great deal to clog the courts and make the death penalty virtually unenforceable in every jurisdiction where it is currently carried out. 301

Bob Dole

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The Racial Justice Act mocks our system of individualized justice by allowing capital defendants to challenge their sentences using statistics alone -- if the numbers don't know add up, then the sentence should be overturned. The Supreme Court of the United States properly rejected this fuzzy-headed reliance on statistics. And the Senate, to its credit, has voted thumbs-down on the Racial Justice Act on every occasion we have considered it. 302

Bob Dole

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Not surprisingly, prominent law enforcement agencies like the National Association of Attorneys General, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Troopers Coalition have all publicly opposed the Racial Justice Act. 303

Bob Dole

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As we anticipate the Senate-House crime conference, it's critical that the Senate send a clear message that the so-called Racial Justice Act is unacceptable and should be rejected by the Senate and House conferees. 304

Harris Wofford

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Mr. President, all of us must take very seriously the allegation that the death penalty is applied in a racially discriminatory manner. Some of the information I have seen to this effect is troubling and can not be disregarded. It seems to me self- evident under our Constitution that if we are to have a death penalty, or any criminal penalties for that matter, they should be applied equally to everyone without regard to race. 306

Harris Wofford

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No one can ignore the historic existence of discrimination in our nation and in our criminal justice system. I fully support the provision in the Senate version of the crime bill that provides funding to states for analysis of the role that race plays in the State's criminal justice system. I note with interest that a Pennsylvania judge, Chief Judge Sylvia Rambo of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, has recently asked the Justice Department to provide information on how it decides to seek the death penalty in federal prosecutions. 307

Harris Wofford

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However, I am not persuaded that the Constitution and the existing civil rights laws do not provide adequate protection against discrimination in the application of the death penalty. The Constitution provides for equal protection under the law, and if a state is applying the death penalty in discriminating manner, it can and should be challenged under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, or under existing civil rights statutes that enforce constitutional protections. 308

Harris Wofford

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Statistical evidence is an important tool in indicating discrimination in civil rights cases, but I am concerned that statistical debates about the application of the death penalty inherently threaten the principle of individual justice that is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system. 309

Harris Wofford

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Moreover, I do not think that the controversy over the Racial Justice Act proposal should jeopardize what we are now able to accomplish with this crime bill. It should not be used to undermine the consensus for passage of the largest federal crime prevention effort in our history. This is a crime bill that has the support of the majority of the Members of this Congress and one that will make an important contribution to the safety of all of our citizens regardless of race. We must move forward and pass this crime bill without prejudice and without further delay. 310

Harris Wofford

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I ask unanimous consent that today's New York Times article on this issue be included in the Record immediately following my remarks. 311

Bill Bradley

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Mr. President, I differ from some of my colleagues in that I believe that there is a place in our system of justice for capital punishment. At one extreme of the scales of justice, there are crimes that so brutally deny the humanity of the victim and the criminal that they merit only the most absolute punishment. But I know that none of my colleagues would disagree with my belief that there is no place in our system of justice for racial prejudice. 334

Bill Bradley

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The racial justice provisions of the House crime bill do not, as my colleague from New York contends, create race-weighted justice. They will not create a situation in which one person is put to death and another spared solely because one is white and one black. Instead, it is intended to determine whether there already is such a situation, and to help us put an end to it. 335

Bill Bradley

Unknown
I want to know, Mr. President, that there is plain justice in this country, not racial justice. I want to know that if a white man brutally murders a black man, his crime will be judged just as dispassionately as the crime of a black man who murders a white woman. Through most of our country's dark history of racial injustice, these crimes have not been treated alike. That's undeniable. Is this injustice part of our history, or part of our present? I want to know. 336

Bill Bradley

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There is plenty of reason to think that death sentences today are based on race. Since the death penalty was reinstated 18 years ago, and 236 people were executed, only one white defendant has been executed for the murder of a black person. In Georgia, whites make up 40 percent of homicide victims, but 87 percent of the death sentences are in cases with white victims. The Racial Justice Act is as much about respect for victims' lives, black lives as well as white lives, as about the rights of criminals to unbiased justice. 337

Bill Bradley

Unknown
These statistics do not prove that each and every death sentence in those jurisdictions was a product of racial bias. But they force the question, and the Supreme Court has ruled that that question can be raised in court only with specific legislative action. The House version of the Racial Justice Act is the appropriate form for that legislative action to take. It gives prosecutors a chance to disprove the allegations of bias in sentencing, using the modest standard of a "preponderance of evidence." It requires a convict challenging a death sentence to a prove not just a statistical disparity, but that his or her individual sentence was also influenced by discrimination. It makes clear that a convict who successfully challenges a death sentence on these grounds will not be released, and not even automatically commuted to life in prison, but resentenced, under a fair procedure that could also end in another death sentence. 338

Bill Bradley

Unknown
My colleagues who oppose the Racial Justice Act contend that it will bring a de facto end to the death penalty, or that it is a backdoor means for death penalty opponents to eliminate it despite the broad public support for capital punishment. I am not an opponent of the death penalty. In fact, I think that the racial justice legislation is an essential protection to the death penalty. Shortly before he announced his intention to retire, Justice Harry Blackmun announced that he would no longer vote to carry out death sentences, given his conviction that the death penalty could not be administered fairly. This is not a radical view on Justice Blackmun's part. If patterns continue unchecked, more and more judges will hesitate to uphold death sentences that appear to have more to do with the race of the convict and the victim than with the barbarity of the crime. The racial justice legislation constitutes our first serious effort to ensure that the death penalty can be and is administered fairly. 339

Bill Bradley

Unknown
The arguments my colleague from New York uses in opposing the Racial Justice Act are valid only for those who can say with some assurance that race is not currently a factor in whether a criminal is sentenced to death or spared. If my colleagues believe that bias persists in sentencing, or want further assurance that justice is blind, they should join me in supporting the racial justice language as a necessary safeguard to the death penalty itself. 340

Dianne Feinstein

Unknown
I rise, Mr. President, to address the nonbinding amendment by Senator D'Amato to instruct the Senate's crime bill conferees to reject the Racial Justice Act as framed in the House crime bill. I support the amendment today, not because I oppose racial justice or believe that our Nation's judicial system is free of racial bias. To the contrary, I concur with Chairman Biden that inequities in the present system can and must be redressed. 342

Dianne Feinstein

Unknown
After much thought about the specific provisions of the House crime bill, however, I found myself in agreement with California's attorney general and all 58 of the State's district attorneys. If adopted as written, the House bill creates a grave risk of intro- ducing even greater delay in capital cases than that now occasioned by abuse of habeas corpus proceedings. 343

Dianne Feinstein

Unknown
Moreover, I am acutely aware of the problems that retroactive application of the House measure would cause in California and elsewhere. While an informal agreement to alter that part of the Racial Justice Act reportedly has been struck, I feel it important to indicate my strong opposition to retroactivity. My vote in support of the amendment before us should be taken as such. 344

Dianne Feinstein

Unknown
Having said that, Mr. President, I do not accept that Congress cannot and should not craft a variation of the House's measure in conference, or subsequently as a stand-alone bill. I look forward to working closely with Senator Kennedy, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and other committed legislators to craft a bill premised on the equally valid needs to redress inequities in our criminal justice system and achieve closure, after due process, in capital cases. 345

Dianne Feinstein

Unknown
There is certainly ground for us to mine together in this pursuit, Mr. President. Limitation of the act to Federal capital cases should be actively considered. Clear statutory definitions of what forms of evidence will be admissible in making a racial justice claim can be crafted. Judges can and should be given guidance by Congress as to what constitutes a statistically significant factor in decisions to impose the death penalty. Race can and must be defined. What to do in cases where the defendant is of mixed race should be addressed. Reasonable time limits for making a racial justice claim can be imposed. Discussion of what cases should be considered similar for purposes of the Act is also necessary. 346

Dianne Feinstein

Unknown
Clearly, there is work that must be done, Mr. President. I am eager to do it. 347

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
Mr. President, how much time remains? 349

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 351

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
The other side has how much time? 353

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 355

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
I yield myself 4 minutes, Mr. President. 357

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
First of all I congratulate my friend and colleague from Illinois. She has spoken eloquently and persuasively on this issue, as she has when she has addressed similar issues. Over the time that she has been a Member she has made a very important difference in this body. Although the Chamber is not filled this afternoon, I know she speaks for millions of Americans, not only from her State but also across this Nation. I wish all of our colleagues could have heard her presentation. 358

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
We are back at an issue which is as old as this country. The issue of race discrimination was enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, and this Nation over a long period of time has had to work to rid itself of that particular stain. As the good Senator from Illinois pointed out based on her visit recently to South Africa and all the efforts that are being made there today, that country is also attempting to deal with that. 359

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
The Members of this body understand the history, the difficulty we had in America in the time of the Civil War -- the bloodshed and violence that took place and the pain and agony that affected so many parts of our Nation during the Civil War. 360

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
Then, fortunately, we had a leader in the late 1950's and the early 1960's who challenged this Nation to put this chapter of our history behind us. Along with Dr. King, we remember the extraordinary, courageous votes that took place in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and also the extraordinary decision in the Brown case in 1954, this Nation really confronted the issue of race. We made extremely important progress. 361

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
We know progress in some areas has not been made, but we have made an important downpayment on the issues of race in our society -- really, I think, because we began to address that issue. 362

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
We saw also progress made in other areas where we have discriminated against people: In terms of religion and ethnicity -- we have moved beyond that -- in terms of disability, gender discrimination, other forms of discrimination. America is moving closer to the real America, which will be to finally eliminate these stains of discrimination that go back to our earliest history as a nation. 363

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
It has been a long and evolving process. I have had the good fortune over the time that I have been in the Senate to have witnessed much of the progress we have made. It was made with the assistance of both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat alike. That has been the reason that we have been able to make progress on something which is of such enormous importance and consequence. 364

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
You can say, "Why now? Why this issue? Why should we be discussing race at the time when we are considering instructions to the crime bill conferees?" It is very simple and very well understood. The issue of whether we will have the death penalty has virtually been resolved. Some 26 or 27 Members, including myself, are opposed to the death penalty. Now that issue has been resolved, this country is going to go ahead with the death penalty. But the fact of the matter is, the expansion of the death penalty in the Senate's bill to 50 more offenses, and the expansion in the House bill to 66 offenses, that massive expansion brings back into mind the very clear evidence of race discrimination in capital sentencing. We have seen the results of different State studies, different law review articles, different work that has been carried out throughout the country. The statistics overwhelmingly prove that the application of the death penalty is affected on the basis of race both in terms of the defendant and in terms of the victim. 365

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
We included the racial justice provision in the 1989 crime bill which I offered and which was favorably reported from the Judiciary Committee. It was repealed on the floor of the Senate. Earlier we passed legislation requiring a GAO study. People -- men and women in the Senate -- said we are glad to have those State studies but we need a final study. Let us get the GAO to really do the final study on this particular issue. 366

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
I yield myself 3 additional minutes. 367

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
So we had the GAO study. And the GAO study that has been put in the Record in the past reaffirms -- reaffirms -- reaffirms everything that we have pointed out here in the course of this debate. 368

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
Why is it -- why is it that this body was prepared to use statistics back in 1964 on the issues of employment; why is it that in 1965 we were prepared to use statistics on voting; why is it that we were prepared to use statistics in 1968 on the basis of housing; why is it that in 1986 the Supreme Court reached the issue of statistics in considering the composition of juries in this country; and why is it that the Supreme Court this year, in terms of gender discrimination on juries, used statistics again? In each and every one of those times that involved the issue of race, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American people have understood the importance of using statistics. And we are asking that it be considered again, not in the way, the form, or shape that we had it previously, but in an entirely different form -- entirely different shape, than was done in the previous way. 369

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
Why is it that they say, "Oh, no, this is just an excuse to end the death penalty?" In the ultimate, ultimate, ultimate decision about our society and the difference of life and death, it is OK for an issue of jobs or housing, it is OK in the jury, but no way -- no way -- that we are going to even consider the very modest provisions that have been included in the House crime bill. 370

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
And the eagerness of this body to intruct the conferees on this measure is striking. Hundreds of different measures on that proposal, but it seems someone says: Let us take the race issue. Let us go up and beat up on the race issue. Let us make all of these comments and statements about how judges cannot really handle statistics. 371

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
The Senators who have spoken on this issue know very well about rebuttable presumptions and how they can be rebutted for any of the different criminals that have been referenced on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Of course, they may be rebutted on a basis of past criminal activity. But this is a core issue, and it is part of the unfinished agenda against discrimination in this society, make no mistake about it, and it is not going away. Members will have a chance to vote on this issue time in and time out, time in and time out until we do something about it. 372

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
So I hope that this amendment is defeated. I hope we can go to conference and come out with a provision that will do the best that we possibly can to eliminate race discrimination in the application of the death penalty. We can do no less. We will be a stronger country when we do. 373

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
I reserve the remainder of my time. 374

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 376

Unknown
Mr. D'AMATO addressed the Chair. 377

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 379

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Mr. President, I am just going to speak for a few seconds and then recognize the Senator from Washington for 3 minutes. 381

Al D'Amato

Unknown
First of all, my colleague from Massachusetts indicates that this is a modest proposal. Let me say that I would term this proposal as nothing more than an exercise in political correctness that is being injected into our legal system. It has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of a person. It would totally put that aside, making it irrelevant and is absolutely -- absolutely -- intended to do away with the death penalty. And that is in fact what it does. 382

Al D'Amato

Unknown
If one were to read section (C)(1), in effect, it eliminates the death penalty. You have to execute people as relates to equal numbers. John Wayne Gacy, a killer, could come and make a claim statistically: "You haven't killed people in equal numbers." He tortured and killed 33 young men. 383

Al D'Amato

Unknown
What a facade, a smokescreen. They call it "racial justice." And then the rest of us are supposed to be quiet because we do not want to be accused of being against racial justice. Of course we want justice, as that liberty of justice stands that there should never be a decision made on the basis of discrimination -- on the basis of race or color. I understand a little something about discrimination. 384

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Let me suggest, this is just a harbinger of things to come. If we are going to say, as relates to the imposition of any penalty, what about the penalties that come 20 years to life for rape, robbery? Should we not have, and would it not logically follow, that the same argument and the same statistics be utilized? 385

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Imagine, after a trial, a person is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt -- and, by the way, in the Senate version, we require before the implementation of the death penalty that there be certification by each and every juror that the judge charged specifically that race not be a part of that decision, each and every one has to certify that they have made their decision without there being any regard to the person's race or color. No discrimination. We put that in there. 386

Al D'Amato

Unknown
This is a charade, and it is a back-door attempt by those who are opposed to the death penalty to say, "Well, we added 60 more provisions." And yet with this one provision, there would be no implementation of the law, regardless of race or color. Even John Wayne Gacy would not have the death penalty imposed upon him as a result of this so-called innocent and modest program. 387

Al D'Amato

Unknown
I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished Senator from Washington. 388

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 390

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Mr. President, despite the heated rhetoric that title IX of the House-passed crime bill evokes, three facts are inescapable and irrefutable. 392

Slade Gorton

Unknown
One, despite it's clever title, the Racial Justice Act would not tend toward eliminating racially discriminatory sentencing in our criminal justice system; it actually institutionalizes overt racism and radically alters fundamental concepts of fairness in our criminal justice system. 393

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Two, despite claims to the contrary by its advocates, many of whom openly admit their hostility to the imposition of the death penalty under any circumstances, that the provision will not abolish the death penalty; title IX overturns Supreme Court precedent and would make the death penalty in many jurisdictions nearly impossible to carry out. 394

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Third, despite all the talk of concern for victims of violent crime, title IX, if enacted, will result in less justice for victims and families of victims of violent crimes, no matter what color of their skin. 395

Slade Gorton

Unknown
A simple reading of the provisions of title IX leads to my three conclusions. 396

Slade Gorton

Unknown
The first section begins with a paragraph that only restates current law: 397

Slade Gorton

Unknown
This concept is a fundamental and established principle of American constitutional law with which no reasonable or fair person would dispute. 399

Slade Gorton

Unknown
The second paragraph states that: 400

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Alarm bells should be ringing in the heads of anyone who is remotely familiar with our criminal justice system. How is the validity of evidence defined? Under what standard of proof can the evidence be rebutted? How are statistics of other cases useful an determining the intent of justice for an individual who committed an individual act of murder? How does this serve the need of justice for victims and their families? 402

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Some of these questions are answered in the provisions of title IX while others are not. 403

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Relevant evidence is described in the third paragraph: 404

Slade Gorton

Unknown
The next paragraph states that judges will decide the validity of the evidence and whether it provides a basis for the inference. The evidence can only be rebutted by "a preponderance of the evidence." Moreover the legislation requires that: 406

Slade Gorton

Unknown
These provisions lead to quotas in sentencing -- a radical departure from fundamental American justice based on individual rights and responsibilities that is enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. In order for prosecutors to pursue the death penalty for an individual charged with a heinous act of murder, the prosecutor would first have to determine whether his past prosecutions and imposition of the death penalty in his area matched the racial makeup of other murderers as well as the racial makeup of victims. If it did not, no matter how horrible the crime, he could not possibly hope to win the death penalty for that individual. 408

Slade Gorton

Unknown
That means a Caucasian drug dealer who kills an African-American police officer in cold blood in a State that did not have a statutorily required statistically proportionate representation of minorities on death row, could not receive the death penalty. This lunacy inspired the prosecutors in my State to write me stating that: 409

Slade Gorton

Unknown
They are the ones, Mr. President, who have to explain to the families of murder victims that the justice they desire is impossible because the victim or the offender had the wrong skin color. It is inconceivable that this is racial justice. 411

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Mr. President, it is clear then that the provisions do not address just the concerns of racism against minorities in some jurisdictions. It overhauls our entire approach to criminal justice and sets unprecedented burdens to justice for victims of all races. It is a mockery of the concept of individual justice and trial by jury -- the foundations for safeguarding our liberties. 412

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Proponents of title IX also assert that it would not overturn established Supreme Court decisions upholding the death penalty. The reading of the Court's opinion in McCleskey versus Kemp concludes otherwise. In that 1986 case, the petitioner, who was African-American, claimed that a statistical study proved that imposition of the death penalty in his State was a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment as well as the "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibitions of the 8th amendment. The Court disagreed, and the opinion by Justice Powell stated that: 413

Slade Gorton

Unknown
There has been some confusion as to whether the Court actually held that the study in this case was valid or not. The seventh footnote, however, explains that: 415

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Clearly, the language in title IX lowers the standard by which courts would be able to use statistical evidence beyond that which was established in McCleskey. In a 1989 Vanderbilt law review article, Prof. James Acker notes that: 417

Slade Gorton

Unknown
As I understand it, this measure, although changed somewhat since its original introduction, has become even broader in its generality -- making Acker's conclusion still relevant. In addition, this morning's paper quotes constitutional scholar Bruce Fein as stating that: 419

Slade Gorton

Unknown
The sound reasoning of the Court in the McCleskey decision which has been followed by more than 30 Federal district and appellate courts. Two specific appellate level decisions reflect the importance of maintaining the evidentiary standards set forth in McCleskey. 421

Slade Gorton

Unknown
In Richmond versus Lewis, a ninth circuit opinion, the panel held that a defendant who offered statistics to show discrimination based on race, sex, and economic status failed because: 422

Slade Gorton

Unknown
In Harris versus Pulley, another ninth circuit opinion, the court rejected statistical studies of general discrimination by age and sex by quoting McCleskey. The appellate court held: 424

Slade Gorton

Unknown
By substituting the "exceptionally clear proof" standard of McCleskey, title IX of the House-passed crime bill will allow countless convicted murders to avoid justice through abuse and manipulation of statistical studies. 426

Slade Gorton

Unknown
While proponents of title IX correctly state that Justice Powell deferred to changes that State legislatures or Congress may make regarding evidence eligible in capital sentencing, that invitation was accompanied by a stern warning on the significance of jury discretion and its connection to criminal justice -- a reminder that is quite useful and necessary for this debate. 427

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Citing Supreme Court precedent, Powell wrote: 428

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Finally, title IX is misguided in its priorities. While Americans increasingly lack faith in a criminal justice system that does not deliver justice for victims, the House of Representatives accepts these provisions which are meant to slow, not expedite, justice for convicted murderers. 430

Slade Gorton

Unknown
In my own State, we have waited for 12 long years with the victims of Charles Campbell's murders for justice to be served, and we are still waiting due to one appeal after another. This Senate must get the message that it is the victims of death row inmates that deserve our energies and efforts. 431

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Title IX is overwhelmingly opposed by those who attempt to administer justice on a daily basis, but who find themselves bound by laws that regularly serve the criminal instead. The misnamed Racial Justice Act is just such as law. 432

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Let me make it clear for the record, this Senator, as I believe most Senators, believes there does exist some statistical racial disparity in the application of the death penalty in some jurisdictions and certain jurors, inevitably and unfortunately, do not follow their sworn duty to be objective. The GAO study does reach that disturbing conclusion. 433

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Common sense indicates, however, that collective comparisons of individual cases can draw only superficial conclusions that may conflict with other studies. For instance, in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last fall, Paul Kamenar of the Washington Legal Foundation discussed a 1985 Bureau of Justice Statistics report that concluded, according to him that, "Whites are 36 percent more likely to be sentenced to death than their black counterparts." Mr. Kamenar concludes by stating, however, that, "The myriad and disparate factors in each particular murder case simply make it impossible to lump all capital cases together for comparative purposes." Conflicting studies do not make the need to address evidence of racial disparity in some jurisdictions less significant. We cannot tolerate discrimination in any form in the application of our laws. By using limited evidence as an all-out assault on the death penalty, however, title IX does not even begin to address this disparity in a remotely constructive and meaningful manner. It takes statistical patterns of racism in some jurisdictions and installs a sweeping and unworkable mandate on all jurisdictions. 434

Slade Gorton

Unknown
In conclusion, Mr. President, if we have the courage to do our jobs and judge this legislation on the merits, we will conclude for the Racial Justice Act, as Justice Powell did in the McCleskey case, that: 435

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Similarly, title IX of the House crime bill, if enacted into law, is a radical change that the American people will quickly recognize as injustice. I trust that is why this Senate has rejected versions of the Racial Justice Act three times and why it will do so again by voting for the D'Amato amendment. If we fail, we have the families of murder victims -- which includes all races -- to answer to. 437

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
Will the Senator yield for 15 seconds? I ask for 15 seconds. 439

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Yes. 441

Ted Kennedy

Unknown
Will the Senator just include the rest of the Powell ruling that invited the legislatures to make a judgment on this very issue, to make such a determination? 443

Slade Gorton

Unknown
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to print more extensive remarks in the Record. 445

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 450

Al D'Amato

Unknown
How much time do I have left? 452

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 454

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Mr. President let me ask that a letter dated May 6, 1994, which was sent to the House and Senate conferees be made a part of the Record. 456

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Let me say this letter was signed by 30 attorneys general from across the Nation, Democrats, Republicans -- 30 of our attorneys general in our States. They wrote a letter to the crime bill conferees expressing their opposition to this legislation, the legislation we are attempting to deal with. Let me quote one part of their letter, as it relates to the provision that the Senator from Massachusetts spoke to. 457

Al D'Amato

Unknown
They write and I quote: "Instead of protecting against race bias," the legislation "would impose a quota system on the imposition of the death penalty." And they conclude: "This is unacceptable." Mr. President, this is from 30 attorneys general across this Nation. Are we supposed to believe that they are opposed to racial justice, men and women who have given their life to the enforcement of the law, equal justice? It is incomprehensible. As a matter of fact, those who come forth with this label of racial justice somehow are supposed to duck down because people do not have an opportunity to really understand. 458

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 460

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Mr. President, nothing more needs to be said. 462

Al D'Amato

Unknown
I ask unanimous consent that this letter be printed in the Record. 463

The Presiding Officer

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. 481

Wendell Ford

Unknown
I announce that the Senator from Alabama [Mr. Shelby] is absent because of illness. 485

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Conrad). Are there any other Senators in the Chamber who desire to vote? 487

Al D'Amato

Unknown
Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote. 498

Wendell Ford

Unknown
I move to lay that motion on the table. 500

Wendell Ford

Unknown
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to. 501

Carl Levin

Unknown
Mr. President, we are about to vote on final passage of S. 1935, a bill which would dramatically tighten the congressional gift rules. If we pass this measure -- as I am confident we will -- this will be a truly historic vote. 503

Carl Levin

Unknown
This bill, if enacted, would ban gifts of meals, tickets to sporting events, so-called recreational travel, and virtually anything else a special interest might offer to a Member of Congress. It would also prohibit all privately funded travel not related to official business and establish strict new disclosure requirements for those travel reimbursements that may be accepted. 504

Carl Levin

Unknown
These are the toughest gift rules ever approved by either House of Congress. If adopted, they will send a message that business as usual is no longer acceptable in this town. 505

Carl Levin

Unknown
Mr. President, the Senate is a highly ethical body. The problem is that the public does not appear to see it that way -- and apparently will not see it that way until we adopt new rules that rid us of any appearances of favoritism or unequal access. 506

Carl Levin

Unknown
That appearance, as unfair as it may be, is poison for public confidence in government. It is not good for the Congress and it is not good for the country. It is my hope that, with this bill, we can take a significant step toward bolstering public confidence in this institution. 507

Carl Levin

Unknown
Mr. President, this bill would not have been possible without the contributions of many Members of Congress. I would particularly like to thank Senators Mitchell and Glenn, the majority leader and the chairman of our committee, for their guidance and support; Senator Cohen, the ranking minority member of my subcommittee, for his able assistance in managing the bill on the floor; and Senator Ford, the chairman of the Rules Committee, for his valuable input and assistance. 508

Carl Levin

Unknown
In addition, I want to acknowledge the efforts of Senators Lautenberg, Wellstone, and Feingold. Even though the bill we are voting on today is significantly different from their proposal, it shares the same goal. 509

Carl Levin

Unknown
We would not have been here without the strength and perseverence of Congressman John Bryant, who successfully managed a string gift ban bill to passage on the House side earlier this year. Although differences remain between the House and Senate gift provisions, no one should doubt that both are tough measures which are intended to change the way we do business around here. 510

Carl Levin

Unknown
Mr. President, in view of the extensive consideration that this bill has received over the last week, and the overwhelming approval of the measure that I expect in the forthcoming vote, it is my view that this bill now represents the position of the Senate on the gifts issue. On that basis, I intend to make it the starting position of the Senate conferees when the conference begins on S. 349, the Lobbying Disclosure Act. 511

Carl Levin

Unknown
I thank my colleagues for their support, and their patience, in dealing with this difficult issue. 512

Carl Levin

Unknown
Mr. COHEN, I would like to join Senator Levin in urging my colleagues to support final passage of this gift ban legislation. As I have stated a number of times, no Member of this body is or has been unduly influenced as the result of a steak dinner or a fruit basket. Nonetheless, there is a perception that the Nation's business is being undermined through gifts to Members of Congress from special interests. All of us recognize that this is a false perception, but one that exists nonetheless. 513

Carl Levin

Unknown
We have an obligation to try to reduce the level of cynicism directed at public institutions. We must be clear, however, that banning gifts will do little to improve Congress' standing in the public's eyes if timely action on health care, crime, the economy, and other critical issues is not taken. Gifts and other advantages of office are powerful symbols -- but they are mere superficial lacerations compared to the malignancy that lurks in the body politic of this Nation. The cynicism toward Congress was not reduced when we charged for gym privileges, closed down the gift shop in the Dirksen Building, or raised prices in the barber shop. Public approval of Congress did not improve as a result of eliminating so-called perks in the past, and I am not sure that this gift ban will succeed in reducing public cynicism. It is ironic that at a time in our history when the standards of ethics in Congress is higher than over before, the press and public believe just the opposite. 514

Carl Levin

Unknown
Historically, Congress has enjoyed high levels of support when the public witnessed Congress doing the Nation's business in a way which they could feel proud of, even if there was disagreement about the ultimate outcome. For example, Congress was looked upon favorably during the Watergate hearings, when the House and Senate rose to the occasion to deal with a very tough situation in a responsible manner, and during the debate on the Persian Gulf war, when the Nation watched this body solemnly consider the use of military force. 515

Carl Levin

Unknown
Although overcoming the American public's cynicism toward Congress cannot be achieved with one piece of legislation, we have an obligation to do what we think is best for the institution. Members of Congress are very much aware of the public's dissatisfaction. We must try to prevent public confidence in Congress from eroding any further than it already has. 516

Carl Levin

Unknown
Some say that Congress already spends too much time tracking public sentiment and following the polls, and cite this propensity as the major reason why Congress cannot deal effectively with difficult issues such as health care, the budget deficit, and crime control. I agree with the statement that Congress must spend more time leading and less time trying to follow public opinion. However, on questions of ethics, we must pay heed to the public's loss of fundamental faith in the trustworthiness of Congress, otherwise, we risk endangering the role this institution plays in our political process. 517

Carl Levin

Unknown
Clearly, some may view this bill as an effort to stem the tidal wave of public discontent about a Congress that many feel is self-indulgent and out of touch. However, I hope Members will support this gift ban legislation not simply out of a desire to appease the public, but because the ban is in the best long-term interests of this institution. It is in this spirit that I believe that passage of S. 1935 is necessary. 518

Carl Levin

Unknown
As I have said throughout the debate on this bill, finding the best approach to fairly and responsibly address the issue of gifts to Members and staff is an ongoing process and is by no means complete. There have been a number of significant improvements and clarifications made to the bill as the result of floor debate. Clearly, the most significant change to the bill came from Senator Bumpers' amendment, which bans all gifts, not just those worth under $20. I also want to note the contributions of Senator Simpson, regarding the designation of honoraria to charities, and of Senator Dole, regarding donations to charitable foundations. Still other improvements can be expected in conference with the House. 519

Carl Levin

Unknown
I would like to thank Senator Levin for his leadership on this difficult issue. Sponsoring this legislation is not a task that either of us sought out, but Senator Levin has worked hard to craft a bill that improves greatly upon the legislation that was originally referred to Governmental Affairs. Two members of his staff, Linda Gustitus and Peter Levine, deserve particular recognition for the long hours they put in on this bill. I also would like to thank Senator Stevens for his assistance in helping to manage the bill. 520

David Durenberger

Unknown
Mr. President, I rise in support of final passage of the gift ban bill, as amended. 522

David Durenberger

Unknown
When Americans are asked to rank professions in terms of public esteem, politicians invariably end up wallowing at the bottom, somewhere in between lawyers and used car salesmen. This image problem isn't just any old public relations disaster; it is a threat to our system of government. 523

David Durenberger

Unknown
When people lose faith in their elected officials, they become cynical about government and what it can accomplish. They stay away from the polls on election day. Even some of the good things we do here lose credibility. People participate in government less. The system becomes less democratic. 524

David Durenberger

Unknown
I must say that I agree with many of my colleagues who have spoken against this bill that it is often the proponents of measures like these that contribute to the public relations problems. By suggesting that we cannot be trusted to accept the hospitality of our constituents, our allies and our friends in Washington, they suggest that something improper is happening. That is unfortunate and untrue. 525

David Durenberger

Unknown
But to those colleagues that oppose this bill, I must say that placing the blame for the problem does not make the problem go away. Regardless of the origins of the problem, it is real and we need to deal with it. 526

David Durenberger

Unknown
During the 103d Congress, I have supported efforts like motor voter to make participation in the political process easier. I have also worked to forge genuine campaign finance reform to restore faith in the way officials are elected. Today I will vote for this bill, to reduce the perception that Congress can be bought by special interests. 527

David Durenberger

Unknown
Early in the debate on this bill, I supported the McConnell-Johnston substitute amendment, which would have further reduced the limit and required the disclosure of gifts. I believe that option would have addressed the perception problem without creating a confusing maze of rules with more gray areas than bright lines. But since this body opted to reject that amendment, we are left with the approach in the underlying committee substitute. 528

David Durenberger

Unknown
Those of us who are retiring at the end of this Congress will not have to live under this ban and its myriad exceptions. I am glad that I will not have to make a determination of who is a personal friend and who is a political friend. When my colleagues dedicate their lives to public service, I know that those lines become hard to draw. 529

David Durenberger

Unknown
I also think the record of this debate ought to reflect the observation that this legislation is needed only to cure the perception, not to change the reality. In my nearly 16 years in the Senate I have come to know a great many people in Washington, Not only Members of Congress, but lawyers, lobbyists and leaders of various so- called special interests. 530

David Durenberger

Unknown
Among the office holders, I have yet to meet one who is not motivated by a desire to serve the public. No one in this Senate would take a bribe of a million dollars, let alone be bought for the price of a meal. Everyone in this Senate, in my observation, works long, hard hours. The perception of nightly dinners and monthly junkets that some try to convey is simply wrong. 531

David Durenberger

Unknown
Among the lawyers and representatives of various interests, it is rare to the point of non-existent for them to try to rely on a personal relationship for a favor. They rely on reasoned argument, facts, and the expressed desires of constituents to carry their case. 532

David Durenberger

Unknown
Finally, as I said, I will vote for this legislation hoping that it will have some positive impact on the way the public views Congress. But I believe we could do much more to cure our image problem by getting down to the business our constituents sent us her to do -- health care reform, welfare reform, and tackling the deficit. 533

David Durenberger

Unknown
Long after this vote is forgotten, that work will be our legacy. 534

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, I rise as the initial sponsor of legislation to eliminate most gifts, meals, and travel provided to Members of Congress and their staffs. 536

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, Senate passage of this bill will represent a major step in a journey that began a little over 1 year ago. Last spring, I developed the first bill to ban most gifts to Members of Congress and their staffs. The introduction of that bill, S. 885, was not just an introduction of a piece of legislation. It was an introduction of a whole new idea. An idea that, until then, was not even on the radar screen here in Washington. 537

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
It is easy to forget how much things have changed in the past year. But just 12 months ago, the idea of simply disclosing these gifts was considered pretty radical. Senator Wellstone had to pull teeth to get the Senate to endorse an amendment disclosing gifts, and it was rightly considered a huge and dramatic step. 538

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
By contrast, an outright gift ban was considered beyond the pale -- not only off the agenda, but beyond the realm of the politically possible. 539

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
In fact, when I first broached the idea of an outright gift ban, the reaction I got, even among reformers, was skeptical at best. They told me in blunt terms: it would never happen. 540

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Well, it may have been a mere pipe dream at the time. But today I am hopeful we will see that even pipe dreams can come true. Sometimes it just takes a little grit and determination. 541

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, at its most basic level, the twin goals of this legislation are simple: first, to help restore public confidence in the Congress, and, second, to reduce the ability of lobbyists and special interests to acquire access and influence on Capitol Hill. 542

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, Americans have always been deeply cynical about their government. Today that cynicism has reached disturbing levels. Increasingly, Americans see Members as captives of special interests, unconcerned about ordinary people. Many feel that Congress is not serving the public well because Members are out to lunch -- at expensive restaurants and resorts, with the tab picked up by special interests. 543

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, I know many of my colleagues believe that these perceptions are inaccurate, or at least overstated. But no one can deny that those perceptions exist and are broadly held by the American people. 544

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
They are also understandable. After all, let us say you are a baseball fan. You pay hundreds of dollars to fly to the World Series to see your favorite team compete. And then you find out that the umpires just came back from a luxury trip to the Caribbean -- paid for by the opposing team. 545

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Now, those umpires might insist that their free trip will not influence their work. They may claim to be fine, ethical people who care about the good of the game. They may say that their judgments will not be colored by the gifts they received. 546

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
And not a fan in the country would believe them. 547

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Well, Mr. President, that is how most Americans feel when they see Members of Congress cast their votes after they have been wined and dined by special interest lobbyists. They think the deck is stacked against them. They do not think it is right. And they do not respect a system that operates that way. 548

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, fair or not, as long as the public believes that Congress is beholden to special interests, our credibility, and our ability to lead, is undercut. 549

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Democracy simply cannot function in an atmosphere of distrust. After all, when citizens view everything the Congress does in the worst possible light, they are similarly skeptical about the legislation we propose. That makes it extremely difficult to build public support. And without public support, it becomes almost impossible to address major social problems in a meaningful way. 550

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
In other words, Mr. President, restoring public confidence in the Congress is not just important to the institution. It is critical for our country and our future. 551

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
That brings me to the second goal of this legislation. 552

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, the need to ban lobbyists' gifts is based on more than the need to restore public confidence in the Congress. We also need to address the disproportionate power of special interests in our political system. 553

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Now, Mr. President, I know that many of my colleagues are thinking: come on Frank, you and I know that Senators are not selling votes for a free meal. 554

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
And that is true. 555

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
But that is not the point. 556

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
The point is this: When lobbyists take a Senator or key staff member out to dinner, they are not just buying a meal, They are buying access. And access is power. 557

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Ordinary citizens do not have that access. 558

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
They cannot just take their Senator to a quiet dinner at an expensive restaurant and explain what it is like to be unemployed. 559

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
They cannot take their Congressman to a ballgame to discuss problems they have making ends meet or educating their kids. 560

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
And they certainly cannot spend a relaxing weekend at a tropical resort, playing golf with key legislators while reviewing their concerns and anxieties about the future. 561

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Meanwhile, lobbyists can do all these things. And while they are at that restaurant, or that ballgame, or that resort, they can discuss a new tax break, or some other favor that their clients want. 562

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
If any Member doubts the value of this kind of access, just ask a lobbyist or their corporate clients. Only the most disingenuous will claim that they provide these exotic trips out of the goodness of their heart. They pay because it gets results. 563

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
They pay to buy clout. 564

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Similar thinking is involved when lobbyists give Members tickets to a show or sporting event, or other gifts. Often, the tickets buy access to Members at the event itself. But if not, they buy good will. And good will also is power. It can mean the difference between getting your calls returned, or your letter taken seriously. And that can translate into millions, even billions of dollars -- at the expense of ordinary Americans who have no lobbyists to represent them. 565

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Now I know that these kinds of gifts and favors are not unique to Congress. They are the common coin of exchange in a variety of different areas. Which, again, demonstrates that people think they have an impact. 566

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I know I did when I was a CEO in the private sector. My company strictly forbade purchasing agents from accepting gifts from suppliers. There was the potential for undue influence, and the stakes were high. So I took steps to minimize the possibility of abuse. 567

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
The same concerns apply to Congress, where the stakes are infinitely greater. And now we have to take steps to minimize abuses here as well. 568

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Before I go further, Mr. President, let me say this. 569

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I know a lot of my colleagues are unhappy with me for proposing this legislation. And that may be putting it mildly. So I want to emphasize a few things. 570

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I did not introduce this bill to tear down the Congress. To the contrary, I want to build it up and strengthen it. 571

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Nor am I offering this legislation to impugn the integrity of any Member of Congress. The fact is, Members of this body are dedicated public servants who work hard and are genuinely committed to serving the public interest. That is not widely appreciated, but it is true. and I think our bill would only help make that clear. 572

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Nor am I claiming that I am some kind of saint who thinks he is holier than thou. In the past, most of the Members of this body, myself included, have lived by the rules and accepted certain items. I do not claim otherwise. 573

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
But times have changed. Public frustration has reached enormous proportions. And it seems to me that we will never restore public faith in this institution until we make some meaningful changes in the way we do business. 574

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
This bill will make those changes. It will ban virtually all gifts except those from family members and personal friends. It will put an end to recreational vacation trips, paid for by private interests. And it will prohibit lobbyists from currying favor with politicians by responding to a Member's solicitation for a contribution to his or her favorite charity. 575

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
It is a tough, strong bill that will make a real difference in the way business is conducted here in Washington. 576

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, let me briefly review how we got to this point. As I mentioned, I introduced the first gift ban bill, S. 885, on May 4, 1993. That bill proposed a strengthened version of the rules that now govern executive branch officials. 577

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
On May 5, 1993, I offered an amendment to S. 349, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, expressing the sense of the Senate that the rules in this area should be tightened in a manner substantially similar to the restrictions applicable to executive branch officials -- and that we should act by the end of last year's session. My amendment was approved by a vote of 98-1. 578

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Despite the overwhelming vote, the Senate did not take action last year. Hearings were held in July by the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, chaired by Senator Levin. However, by the end of the session the bill remained stalled in committee. 579

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Earlier this year, joined by Senators Wellstone and Feingold, I decided to push the issue to a head. The three of us announced that we were prepared to offer an amendment to unrelated legislation, and we developed a new version of our proposal designed to move the process forward. 580

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Our new bill, S. 1935, was based on legislation that had been developed in the House, which placed restrictions on the gifts that lobbyists and their clients could provide. We designed our bill to largely mirror the House approach, but we eliminated many of the loopholes in the House bill, and strengthened the language in a variety of ways. Our expectation at the time was that an approach focused on lobbyists and their clients was more likely to win eventual approval as part of the Lobbying Disclosure Act, especially given the difficulty we had encountered in moving our original bill, which focused on what Members and staff could receive. 581

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
After we announced our intention to offer the new bill as an amendment to unrelated legislation, we entered into negotiations with key Senators about the procedures by which our proposal would be considered. After extensive discussions, we succeeded in securing a unanimous-consent agreement under which our bill would be referred to the Governmental Affairs Committee for a limited time, after which the bill would be taken up by the full Senate. 582

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
It was this agreement that finally got the ball rolling. Facing a deadline for action, the Governmental Affairs Committee developed a revised version of our bill, and sent it on to the full Senate. The committee's substitute, developed largely by Senator Levin, went back to the approach in our first bill, S. 885, and placed restrictions on what Members could receive in a manner substantially similar to the rules applicable to executive branch officials. The committee also adopted a key principle of our second bill, S. 1935 as introduced, by including a virtually total ban on gifts from lobbyists. 583

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
The committee substitute was a significant, positive step forward, but it had several weaknesses. For example, the substitute contained an open-ended exemption for meals and entertainment in a Member's home State. It also lifted an existing cap on gifts worth more than $250 from personal friends. In addition, the committee substitute failed to restrict the lobbyists and others who give gifts. 584

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Once the bill came to the floor, Senators Wellstone, Feingold, and I were able to make some significant improvements in the legislation, which were included in a manager's amendment proposed by Senator Levin. First, the amendment reinstated the current cap on entertainment in a Member's home State, pending Rules Committee action. Second, the amendment required Ethics Committee waiver of gifts to Members and staff from personal friends in excess of $250, as under current rules. This is designed to protect against apparent conflicts of interest where, for example, a friend gives a large gift while seeking legislative favors. 585

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
The manager's amendment also makes it unlawful for any lobbyist or foreign agent to give a gift knowing that acceptance of the gift would violate the rules. Unfortunately, we were not able to agree on an enforcement mechanism for this prohibition. However, inclusion of the provision puts the Senate on record in support of the principle of limiting gift givers, and I am hopeful that an enforcement mechanism will be established in conference. The House gift ban relies exclusively on restrictions imposed on lobbyists and clients, enforced by the Justice Department through civil fines up to $200,000. 586

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Another provision in the manager's amendment is based on language from our underlying bill, S. 1935, that precludes the availability of the personal friendship exception where a lobbyist charges a fee for the purpose of reimbursing the lobbyist for a gift. This responds to statements by lobbyists that they would evade the rules by claiming that a Member or staffer was a friend, and then charging higher hourly fees to compensate themselves for lunches provided to Members and staff. This kind of evasion would be precluded by our language. 587

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Finally, the manager's amendment limits the availability of the widely attended event exception to food and materials provided by the sponsor of an event. This is consistent with our original proposal, and with executive branch rules. Thus, if a private corporation pays to have a Member sit at their table at an event, that will be considered a gift to the Member and banned, if no other exceptions apply. 588

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Taken together, Mr. President, these changes have made an already strong bill even stronger, and are sufficient to allow me to endorse the final product enthusiastically. 589

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, before I go further I want to express my appreciation to Senator Levin and his staff for their outstanding work on this legislation, and for their cooperation throughout this process. Senator Levin has once again proven himself to be not only a committed advocate for reform, but one of the most conscientious and able Members of this body. His performance in the debate on this bill demonstrated his mastery of the bill's details, and his tremendous skill as a legislative craftsman. 590

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I also want to express my thanks to Senator Levin's staff, especially Linda Gustitus and Peter Levine, for their excellent work on this bill. They've done a great job, and deserve enormous credit for their professionalism and their dedication to quality. 591

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I also want to formally thank my two partners in this effort, Senator Paul Wellstone and Senator Russell Feingold. It's been a real pleasure to work with both of these outstanding Senators, and I appreciate their support throughout this often lonely battle. Senator Wellstone clearly has established himself as one of the most forceful and effective advocates of Government reform, and has thrown himself into this battle with great dedication and commitment. Similarly, Senator Feingold has worked very hard on this legislation, and has made a huge difference. I thought his presentation to the Senate was especially persuasive, and demonstrated to our colleagues that a tight gift ban can work in the Senate, as it has worked in Wisconsin for over 20 years. 592

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, let me also pay tribute to two outside groups that played an especially important role in this effort. 593

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
First, Common Cause, and its president, Fred Wertheimer. 594

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, Common Cause may not be the most popular group among Members of Congress, but it plays a critical role here in Washington. It would be a lot harder to pass reform legislation if they were not here to help: providing technical drafting advice, working the Halls of Congress, and building support in the press and the public around the country. Fred Wertheimer and his staff, especially Michael Mawby and Meredith McGehee, have made a major contribution to this effort, and I want to publicly thank them for their help. 595

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I also want to express my appreciation to Public Citizen, and its president, Joan Claybrook, for their assistance in building support for this bill. Public Citizen has made a real contribution, not only by providing lobbying support and advice, but by publishing an extensive report on travel by Members of Congress that helped bring this problem to public attention. I want to especially thank Bob Schiff and Pam Gilbert of the Public Citizen staff for their assistance. 596

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Now, Mr. President, the battle shifts to the conference committee on the Lobbying Disclosure Act. There are major differences between the Senate and House gift bans, and much work remains to be done. 597

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
I would strongly urge the conferees to take the best from both the Senate and House versions in devising a final conference report. From the Senate, I would hope they will take our broad approach that prohibits Members and staff from accepting gifts from virtually anyone other than relatives and personal friends. From the House, I would hope they will take strict limits on lobbyists and others who give gifts, backed up with tough and enforceable sanctions. I also would note that it is important not to include some of the loopholes that were included in the House bill, such as those that would allow charity recreational trips and private meals with lobbyists. 598

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
It is comforting for me to know that the Senate will be represented in these negotiations by Senator Levin, and I look forward to providing any assistance I can to support his efforts. 599

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
So, Mr. President, this promises to be a historic day. I'm proud to be a part of it. And I look forward to continuing to work hard until this important piece of legislation is enacted into law. 600

Frank R. Lautenberg

Unknown
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that certain materials related to this legislation be published in the Record at this point. 601

Mitch McConnell

Unknown
Mr. President, the upside of this bill is all political. But, make no mistake, there will be no positive blip in congressional approval ratings because of this bill. 645

Mitch McConnell

Unknown
The downsides of the Levin-Wellstone-Lautenberg proposal are in practicality, enforceability, and compliance. Those are the concerns I expressed last week and still hold. The actual language of the bill is not concise or easily implemented. That is why I supported Senator Bumpers' amendment to delete the $20 gift limit allowed from nonlobbyists, it would be very difficult to ascertain that everything accepted did, indeed, have a market value of less than that amount. In effect, I argued for making the bill tougher by making it more practical. 646

Mitch McConnell

Unknown
As vice chairman of the Ethics Committee, I am compelled to again caution members that the committee is nowhere near adequately staffed to cope with the onslaught of advisory opinions and waiver requests it will receive because of this legislation. And when the committee is powered up with legions of staff attorneys, members, and staff beware, this bill will make honest people appear crooked. Reputations may be ruined. Careers may be destroyed -- over a meal or trinket that falls outside some exception. 647

Mitch McConnell

Unknown
Mr. President, I will not at this time revisit the donut debate of last week, but would note that that discussion only touched on the countless scenarios possible under this measure. However, as the softball season is just beginning, I will leave Members and staff with an additional question to ponder: under the Levin-Wellstone-Lautenberg proposal, will any Senator or Senate employee be able to play on a softball team in a tournament sponsored by corporations? Sponsored by a pizza joint? Will America be better off because all Senate softball players are benched? 648

Mitch McConnell

Unknown
There is no question that America is not enamored of its Congress. But in our zeal to appear sensitive to public perception, we must not lose sight of reality. The reality is that until we seriously tackle the seemingly intractable problems of the deficit, government waste, crime and economic insecurity, people will not have a positive perception of Congress. and all this self-immolation on C-Span just makes people even more disgusted. 649

John Chafee

Unknown
Mr. President, today the Senate has come one step closer to restoring public confidence in Congress. Passage of what has come to be called the gift ban bill will help to strengthen the credibility Congress has lost as a result of such matters as the improprieties that led to the closing of the House bank and the revelations about dubious fundraising activities that resulted from the Keating Five investigations. 651

John Chafee

Unknown
I do not believe that the votes of most Members of Congress are influenced by the meals and tokens that this bill seeks to eliminate. 652

John Chafee

Unknown
What I do believe is that a public perception exists that Congress places itself above other Americans. The perception also exists that some Members of Congress are unduly influenced by special interest lobbyists, rather than by those they represent. This erosion of the public trust threatens to undermine the effectiveness of the legislative branch. 653

John Chafee

Unknown