Magazine article Black Enterprise

Will Curbing PACs Hurt Black Reps?

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Will Curbing PACs Hurt Black Reps?

Article excerpt

To many Americans, the clamor about campaign finance reform is a no-brainer. They believe too many politicians receive too much money from too many single- or narrow-issue political action committees (PACs). The result: Constituents complain that legislators are unduly influenced to do a PAC's bidding, rather than protect constituent interests.

For many Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members, campaign finance reform is no casual matter, and PACs are viewed as boons not banes. In fact, some CBC members fear restrictive financing rules will undermine their efforts to be re-elected. As Eva Clayton (D-N.C.), president of the Democratic Frehman Class notes, "Candidates in the poorest districts often accept money outside the area. This is particularly true when the candidate is not affluent and receives the bulk of his or her individual contributions from people who give $200 or less."

The issue is particularly delicate because most House and Senate members rely on PAC contributions to replenish financial "war chests" depleted during the election cycle. For funding anything from media air time to campaign paraphernalia, money is an essential part of a successful campaign. Moreover, because incumbents stand to lose it stringent restrictions on PAC contributions are enacted, finance reform has become one of the most contentions issues facing Congress.

President Bill Clinton has pledged to sign the campaign finance reform bill vetoed by his predecessor, thereby sending Capitl Hill a signal that his Administration is serious about reform. Congress has been listening.

Logically, the battle against restrictions should be waged by PAC-reliant minority candidates who need outside money to offset their district's scarce resources. CBC members fear proposals reducing the amount of PAC contributions will hinder their ability to fend of challenges in upcoming elections. …

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