Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Democrats Set Restrictions on Contributions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Democrats Set Restrictions on Contributions

Article excerpt

The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday it would set a $100,000 per year limit on contributions from any individual or organization, including unions. It also said it would no longer accept money from donors with close ties to foreign countries.

The actions were part of an effort to move beyond embarrassing disclosures about the Democratic National Committee's fund raising in last year's campaign. The committee's practices are under investigation by the Justice Department and Congress.

The committee has returned nearly $1.5 million in questionable contributions, some from noncitizens who did not appear to have the wealth to make such large contributions. The party also listed steps it said would prevent unseemly characters from gaining access to the president and vice president through political receptions at the White House and vice presidential residence. Separately, the Clinton administration announced efforts of its own to conduct more thorough background checks on people invited into the White House. President Bill Clinton and other Democratic leaders used the announcement to call for Republicans to match the Democratic committee's steps - and for Congress to act quickly on broader campaign finance reforms. In a speech to the Democratic committee, Clinton noted that the party's announcement coincided with the reintroduction of a bipartisan campaign finance measure in Congress. "It is tough. It is balanced. It is credible," Clinton said of the measure sponsored by Sens. John McCain of Arizona, a Republican, and Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat. Announcement of the Democrats' fund-raising rules overshadowed the election of Clinton's handpicked party leadership team, Colorado Gov. Roy Romer and Massachusetts businessman Steve Grossman. They were ratified as the national committee's general and national chairman, respectively, and promised to vigorously enforce the new rules. Privately, senior party officials blame the failure to properly police contributions in large part on White House pressure to raise more money. …

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