Bob Smith on Government Reform

Republican Sr Senator (NH; retired 2002)

Political donations are free speech

Q: Do you support or oppose stricter limits on political campaign funds?

A: Do not support. Political donations are free speech.

Source: Email interview on 2010 Senate race with OnTheIssues.org Mar 4, 2010

Corporate Welfare: Against subsidies for private companies

Throughout my years in Congress, I frequently have voted against subsidies for select private companies. I have opposed corporate welfare programs such as: The Market Promotion Program, which provides Federally-funded overseas advertising for private companies’ products; programs within the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce that aid the overseas expansion of select private American companies; and the peanut and sugar subsidy programs.
Source: senate.gov/~smith “Smith on the Issues” Aug 30, 1999

Campaign Finance: Full disclosure replace PACs & franking

Throughout my years in Congress I have supported efforts to reform campaign finance laws. I have voted to eliminate political action committees and to prohibit the use of the Congressional franking privilege for mass mailings. Full disclosure, not limitations on free speech, is the right kind of campaign finance reform.
Source: Smith for president homepage Jul 2, 1999

Campaign Finance: independent commission to reform rules

I have co-sponsored legislation to establish a bipartisan commission that would recommend campaign finance reforms, [known as ] the Claremont Commission Act. The Commission would establish a nine-member commission to examine campaign finance rules and propose comprehensive legislation for reform. The Commission would make recommendations based on good policy, not politics.
Source: Smith for president homepage Jul 2, 1999

Unfunded mandates hurt local services

It is my strong conviction that I was not elected to Congress to pass more regulatory legislation that will ultimately strip communities of their autonomy. As Congress continues to impose unfunded Federal mandates, I fear that towns & cities will increasingly have to cut back on other important services such as road repair, police department expenditures and the education of local children just to pay for [environmental and other] precautions that are not always appropriate or necessary.
Source: Smith’s Senate Home Page Jul 2, 1999

For term limits for judges; against activist Judiciary

To combat the current activist Judiciary, Senator Smith has introduced a Term Limits for Judges constitutional amendment. This bill would limit the terms of federal judges to 10 years, allowing them to be reappointed subject to confirmation by the Senate. He was one of three Senators to vote against Ruth Bader Ginsburg nomination.
Source: www.smithforpresident.org/issues.htm May 19, 1999

Strong voice in exposing fundraising & sex scandals

As chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, Senator Smith has a proud record of opposition to corrupt and unaccountable government. He has been a strong voice in exposing scandals in the Clinton White House while participating in the Special Investigation of 1996 campaign fundraising scandals as a member of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.
Source: www.smithforpresident.org/issues.htm May 19, 1999

Abolish unconstitutional federal agencies

I will abolish the Department of Education. I will rid our government of unconstitutional programs, like the National Endowment for the Arts.
Source: NH Primary Kickoff Dinner Speech May 2, 1999

Supports Line Item Veto

Sen. Smith concurs that the President should be allowed to veto certain items of legislation while signing spending or tax bills into law.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1996

Term limits of 12 years for Senate & Congress

Sen. Smith supports amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms which members of Congress can serve. Sen. Smith says that Senators should be limite to serving 12 years and Representatives should also be limited to 12 years.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1996

Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.

Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration.

Motion to Table Schumer Amdt. No. 2937; To permit the use of a signature or personal mark for the purpose of verifying the identity of voters who register by mail, and for other purposes. Voting Yes would kill the amendment. The amendment would allow a signature to identify voters who register by mail, instead of requiring showing photo identification or other proof of residence before being allowed to vote.
Reference: Bill S.565 ; vote number 2002-38 on Feb 27, 2002

Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations.

Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Reference: Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voted NO on funding for National Endowment for the Arts.

This table motion would end debate on an amendment aimed at funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the motion to table is a vote for NEA funding. [YES to table means supporting the NEA; NO means defunding the NEA].
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)80; N)16; NV)4
Reference: Motion to table Smith Amdt #1569; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-260 on Aug 5, 1999

Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.

Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI).
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997

Voted YES on Approving the presidential line-item veto.

Approval of the presidential line-item veto authority.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)69; N)31
Reference: Conference Report on S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1996-56 on Mar 27, 1996

Voted YES on banning more types of Congressional gifts.

To exclude certain items from the Congressional Gift Ban.
Status: Amdt Failed Y)39; N)60; NV)1
Reference: Murkowski Amdt to S. 1061; Bill S. 1061 ; vote number 1995-339 on Jul 28, 1995

Adhere to 10th Amendment; delegate power to states.

Smith signed the Tenth Amendment Pledge:

    As a public office holder, or a candidate for public office, I promise that, as long as I hold office:
  1. My votes will always be in favor of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State. Every issue. Every time. No exceptions. No excuses.
  2. I do, and will continue to, oppose any and all efforts by the federal government to act beyond its Constitutional authority.
  3. I will proactively introduce and support measures designed to adhere to the Tenth Amendment and preserve, to their fullest extent, the powers of the People in my district, and of the legislators and administrations of my State.
  4. I will introduce, sponsor and support a resolution affirming the sovereignty of the People of each State under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
  5. I will introduce, sponsor, and support legislation that seeks to repeal laws and regulations that are outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government.
  6. I will introduce, sponsor and support legislation that provides such relief as is necessary and proper to provide fair redress to the citizens of my State in response to actions by the federal government which exceeds its Constitutional authority.
  7. Whenever I vote in favor of a new federal power, I will always make public my justification for it within the confines of the enumerated powers of the Constitution.
  8. I will only vote in favor of a bill that I have thoroughly read, considered and understood.
  9. I will be accountable to voters. Upon request, I will make public every vote I cast while in office.
  10. I will keep this pledge public, and will provide a link on my website which directs constituents to the text of this pledge.
    Source: The Tenth Amendment Pledge 10-10th-GR on Jul 4, 2010

    Other candidates on Government Reform: Bob Smith on other issues:
    NH Gubernatorial:
    John Lynch
    NH Senatorial:
    Jeanne Shaheen
    Kelly Ayotte

    Retiring as of Jan. 2011:

    Unseated as of Jan. 2011:

    Newly elected, Nov. 2010:

    Re-elected, Nov. 2010:
    Civil Rights
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Social Security
    Tax Reform

    Other Senators
    Senate Votes (analysis)
    Bill Sponsorships
    Policy Reports
    Group Ratings

    Page last updated: Nov 26, 2010