WASHINGTON (Sep. 3)
Sen. Guy M. Gillette, chairman of a Senate Elections Subcommittee, today said that legislation is being prepared which would help to eliminate from election campaigns material defaming racial and religious minorities.
The Senator explained that, while the Subcommittee would not recommend any measure curbing free speech, it hoped to fix the responsibility for anti-Semitic and other biased propaganda sent out on behalf of various candidates without their consent. The Senator said he knew of a number of instances in which candidates claimed they knew nothing of scurrilous matter circulated in their behalf by professional hatemongers. It was explained that the legislation under consideration would make it unlawful to distribute such material on behalf of a candidate without his previous knowledge and consent.
A general report is being prepared by the Subcommittee, Sen. Gillette said, that will contain the facts about the injection of religious bigotry into political campaigning. He made known that he has asked all candidates for the Senate to subscribe to a “code of fair practices.” The code pledges the avoidance of “personal vilification, character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate.” The Elections Subcommittee will announce, prior to the November election, the names of those who sign the pledge.