Candidate Bush Thinks You Are Easy to Fool
Bush Proposes Fake Reform
Below is a statement by Common Cause president Scott Harshbarger.
PROPOSAL "FAILS TEST OF REFORM"
The flawed campaign finance proposal released by Governor George W. Bush fails the test of reform because it leaves in place the kind of soft money that played such a big role in the campaign finance scandals of 1996. The 1996 campaign finance scandals revolved around huge, unregulated and unlimited soft money donations that would have been illegal if given directly to candidates because of the contributions' size and source.
First, the Bush proposal fails to adequately address the soft money scandal. His proposal is silent on the subject of soft money spilling into federal elections through state party committees, and would allow unlimited and unregulated donations from the wealthiest individuals in America, many of whom have business pending before Congress. In fact, more than a quarter of soft money already comes from individuals - many of the top soft money individual donors are actually founders, Chairs, CEOs, directors, or executives of major corporations.
Second, the Bush proposal is not even-handed. Bush's so-called "paycheck protection" act is completely silent on the question of whether shareholders would be required to give their permission before corporate funds are spent on political activities which shareholders disagree with. The real way to protect paychecks in this country is to ban all soft money, from corporations, labor unions, and wealthy individuals - that's the kind of soft money ban at the heart of the McCain- Feingold bill.
Third, the Bush proposal leaves the "sham issue ad" loophole untouched. Under the Bush proposal, anonymous groups could continue to run campaign ads masquerading as "issue discussion," using money that would be completely illegal if given to candidates directly. Previous versions of the McCain-Feingold bill would have required such organizations to play by the same rules as the candidates themselves - meaning disclose your donors, and use money which would be legal under federal law.
To leave in place some of the most corrupting money in politics today reduces everything else in the Bush proposal to window dressing: a hodge-podge of half-steps which would do nothing to further real reform.
You'll find Common Cause at http://www.commoncause.org
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