On March 27 The Hill, a Washington newspaper with a definite inside-the-Beltway readership, ran a full-page ad featuring a silhouette of the Capitol with a banner hanging from its dome. In huge letters, the sign read, "FOR SALE - ONLY MILLIONAIRES NEED APPLY." The text of the ad went on to specifically attack a bill proposed by Rep. Linda Smith (R-Wash.), which, the ad says, would result in "more domination by wealthy contributors and more millionaires in Congress."
Smith's bill proposes, among other things, banning all contributions from political action committees. The ad was part of a $25,000 Beltway issues advertising campaign by the National Association of Business Political Action Committees (NABPAC) - the trade association for PACs. Its intent was to defend PACs as a "reform that has worked." And its concerns - given that more than two dozen campaign finance reform bills have been introduced in the 104th Congress - are real.
NABPAC's advertising will hardly be the last we'll see on this subject over the next six months, with some of it likely to come from the opposing side.
"We have no formal plans to air issue ads supporting campaign finance reform right now, but it's always an option," says Common …