Magazine article The Christian Century

Leaders Lament Failure of Campaign Reform

Magazine article The Christian Century

Leaders Lament Failure of Campaign Reform

Article excerpt

Leaders from 11 denominations and religious agencies, including the National Council of Churches, have expressed their dismay at the failure of legislation to reform the way political campaigns are financed. The issue, which rose to prominence during the 1996 presidential campaign, has been a top priority for religious groups that believe the vast amounts of money in the political process are a corrupting influence.

"Campaign finance reform is not simply a political or public relations dilemma but a moral matter," the religious leaders said. "The temptation to use money to buy unjust favors is an ancient one. The prophet Amos thundered against those merchants who sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes ... and push the afflicted out of the way." An estimated $650 million was spent in the 1996 general election.

On February 26, Senate supporters of efforts to overhaul campaign financing laws acknowledged they did not have the votes to break a Republican-led filibuster of their proposal. It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster. The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senators John McCain (R. …

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