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Annual Meeting
President's Message (Astrid Monson)
National League Acts on Campaign Finance Reform
Planning and Zoning (Astrid Monson)
Con Con (Jean Aoki)
Vote Count

National League Acts on Campaign Finance Reform

Once again LWVUS is working actively to develop a campaign finance reform strategy to close the worst loop-holes in existing law and strengthen the Federal Election Commission as quickly as possible through bipartisan consensus, while working towards long-term solutions. The March-April issue of the National Voter will carry a story on the issue.

Though various bills have been introduced in recent years, none of them have been adopted. Currently League is seeking a fresh approach as indicted above. In addition, legislation will soon be introduced to provide for public financing as part of a long-term solution.

The McCain-Feingold bill, S. 25. is not supported by League, which alleges that it does not adequately and fairly control special interest contributions to Senate candidates, undermines disclosure requirements, and is unconstitutional. It bars Political Action Committees (PAC's), which is felt to interfere with free speech and the rights of association. Rather than banning PAC's, League supports setting an aggregate limit on the total amount candidates can receive from PAC's.

Second, Bill 25 fails to address the problem of large contributions from individuals. Large contributions from individuals are now the primary way special interest money is delivered in the Senate. S. 25, LWVUS alleges, will not stop this flow.

Finally, disclosure would be undermined if PAC's are controlled while large individual contributions are not. When special interests give through a PAC, it goes on the public record.

Politically, LWVUS feels that concentrating on S. 25 would be unwise because opponents in the Senate will not accept spending limits and will filibuster it to death. League members are urged not to support it, but rather to urge their Senators and Representatives to enact legislation to close the soft money, independent expenditure, and advocacy loopholes which now exist. In the House, the Shays-Meehan bill, it is felt, is one approach which affords a starting point to close these loopholes. For the long term, however, League strongly supports public financing.

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