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Campaign Reform Bill

March 30, 1997

* Your article on the McCain-Feingold bill, "Movement to Kill Campaign Finance Reform Falters" (March 26), states that "reform proponents (are) puzzled over the apparent absence of public clamor for a change." Frankly, this so-called reform offers nothing for the public to be excited about. It actually could do more harm than good.

While the bill contains measures to control spending and reduce campaign costs, it does little to change where campaign money comes from. An alarming 80% of contributions are in amounts over $200; that's well beyond the reach of your average citizen. How can the public be expected to rally around "reform" where a small but wealthy set of interests will continue to determine who runs for office and who wins elections?

By failing to enact tough contribution limits, the McCain-Feingold bill will simply make it less expensive for the same set of fat cats to continue to run the show. If, however, we were to control contributions with $100 limits and a ban on soft money, we'd be on the right track to improving the democracy of California. We should be working toward a constitutional amendment to allow limits on personal spending in elections. Bills that don't lead us in that direction are a waste of time and energy.



* Perhaps a law should be enacted requiring political parties to set aside a percentage of their campaign contributions to investigate the fund-raising of their adversaries. This would keep them honest without dipping into public funds for partisan investigations.


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