Wednesday, February 20, 2002
More proof that campaign-finance reform is a joke. The Hill newspaper is reporting that before the Shays-Meehan bill has even passed the Senate, Democrats are already making plans to circumvent the new rules.
As comprehensive campaign finance reform nears its expected enactment, House Democratic lawmakers have already adopted strategies for redirecting the flow of large contributions to outside groups aligned with their party, a move they hope will help them regain control of the Chamber.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) has assured African-American members of his caucus that he will raise money for groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southwest Voter Project to pay for their voter registration and get-out-the-vote operations.
Reform legislation sponsored by Reps. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) that passed the House last week bans soft money but allows federal lawmakers to raise funds in $20,000 increments for outside organizations as long as those groups are “nonpartisan.” The loose restrictions would allow party leaders to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars for such groups.
I'm sure that the Republicans will be doing much the same thing with interest groups that typically align with their beliefs. But it just shows you that as far as the general public is concerned, nothing will really change in Washington. So, instead of the GOP and the Democratic parties funding ads, NARAL, the NRA and the NAACP will. The fact that major newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post and San Diego Union-Tribune, have come out in support of the "reform" is disappointing and troubling. Give them just a few years of the new law, and I'm sure there will be calls for even more "reform." What they've done already being insufficient.