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Campaign Reform

March 25, 2001

* Re "Have You No Shame, John McCain?" Commentary, March 21: Before George Will wrote his diatribe about Sen. John McCain and his efforts to limit campaign contributions, he should have looked at the cartoon just above his article. It depicts senators from the fictitious states of Exxon, Philip Morris, Microsoft and the NRA, all being asked to rebut arguments over campaign finance reform. Will suggests that there is no quid pro quo between contributions and legislation. Anyone who believes that probably also believes the seven cigarette executives who swore that cigarettes aren't addictive.

NATE RUBIN

Los Angeles

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* As Will derided Sen. McCain, he did not make reference to the recent reversals in public policy that reflect a "thank you" to big contributors. I refer, of course, to the changes in ergonomic workplace requirements (a "for payment received" benefit for business in general) and the distressing dismissal of impending legislation to mandate a decrease in the release of carbon dioxide (a tip of the hat to campaign-generous coal producers). There will be other examples soon, count on it.

Without real campaign finance reform, the Congress--and all government legislative entities--will be branded as "votes for sale" bodies. Come to think of it, they already are.

ARNOLD SILVERMAN

Laguna Niguel

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* Will suggests that it will be impossible to prove that huge financial contributions have actually influenced lawmakers' votes, yet the cases that have come before the courts over recent years refute that supposition. Does he really think we are so naive as to think that the National Rifle Assn. has contributed over $8 million to congressional campaigns in the last 10 years out of patriotism? It would be foolish to believe that the present version of the McCain-Feingold bill would ever appear on any ballot. But if it did, the majority by which it would pass would boggle the mind.

Just a couple of ounces of prevention, Mr. Will, is all we want.

PAUL VICTOR

Pasadena

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