Vanderbilt Law Review


Todd R. Overman

First Page



In 1998, Senator Russell Feingold squared off against Representative Mark Neumann in a heated contest for a Wisconsin Senate seat. During the campaign, Representative Neumann and Senator Feingold voluntarily entered into a number of campaign finance restrictions.' Representative Neumann, despite losing the race to Senator Feingold, asserted that those restrictions "showed that campaign finance reform didn't require changes in law and was best handled on a voluntary basis.' In the 2000 New York Senate race, Representative Rick Lazio echoed Representative Neumann's sentiment and declared that it was he and "Mrs. Clinton's opportunity, to make a statement about our commitment to campaign- finance reform, to demonstrate that we don't need a law to do the right thing." Soon thereafter, Representative Lazio and Mrs. Clinton agreed to several voluntary campaign finance restrictions that, among other things, banned soft money expenditures by political parties and numerous interest groups. Ironically, Senator Feingold, who is now an avid supporter of increased government regulation of campaign finance, originally proposed the voluntary restrictions, praised by Representative Neumann and used effectively in the 2000 New York Senate campaign.