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MARCH 20, 2001
1:24 PM
CONTACT:  Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
Campaign Finance Reform
WASHINGTON - March 20 -

    Executive director of the Fannie Lou Hamer Project, Wilson said today: "During the civil rights movement of the last century, voices rose in resistance to racism, inequality, brutal oppression and disenfranchisement, and they could not be silenced. Their cries resulted in both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts -- legislation that Congress could no longer avoid or delay. Yet even this landmark legislation would prove to be inadequate in fulfilling the promise of democracy for all Americans. Today, our elections remain largely the stronghold of the racially and economically privileged of the nation. We are awash and afloat in campaign cash, the lifeblood of this fundamentally unfair political animal. McCain-Feingold legislation is a small step forward, while the Hagel legislation is actually a step backwards. The expected Wellstone legislation is a real step forward -- it includes provisions similar to the McCain-Feingold bill as to soft money and sham issue ads, but it doesn't increase existing hard money limits. Most importantly, the bill's full public financing provisions would, for the first time, allow candidates to avoid raising money from, and becoming indebted to, private sources."

    Former executive director of Common Cause in New Hampshire, Snow is associate director of the UCLA Center for Communications and Community. She said today: "There are efforts underway now to kill the McCain-Feingold legislation through raising individual contribution limits from $1,000 to $3,000. That's going in the wrong direction. Keep in mind that just one-ninth of 1 percent of the voting age population contributed $1,000 or more to federal candidates in the 1999-2000 cycle. Do we want to make participation even more exclusive by raising the limits? I don't want to live in a country where it's stamped 'members only' at the entrance of our legislature."

    Director of Texans for Public Justice, McDonald said today: "If President Bush's Texas record is any indication, he won't support campaign reform measures that limit soft money or inhibit tycoons from dominating politics. Business PACs and individuals supplied 96 percent of the money that Bush raised for his Texas gubernatorial campaigns. As governor of Texas -- the Wild West of money in politics -- Bush opposed putting any limits on campaign contributions. He seems to believe that people are entitled to as much representation as they can afford to buy. Bush raised much of his massive gubernatorial war chests from a small group of tycoons. He collected more than $10 million in campaign funds from just 207 donors who contributed from $25,000 to $175,000 apiece. Bush's reform vision is to further empower and enrich the few at the expense of workers, the poor and the middle class.


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