Reforming Campaigns

Article excerpt

CONGRESS can't sidestep campaign reform this year. The entwining of five senators with wheeling and dealing savings and loan executive Charles Keating is only the best-known episode impelling reform. The public has come to think of electoral politics as a reservoir fouled by gushing streams of special-interest money.

Democrats and Republicans have their own special interests in maintaining various aspects of the current system. Democrats are loath to give up their advantage in attracting political action committee (PAC) funds, especially from organized labor. Republicans want no part of overall campaign spending limits or of public funding for congressional elections. Either measure, they say, favors incumbents - read "Democrats."

Still, the Senate has shown that self-interested politicians can at least start to moderate differences and work toward compromise. Senate Democrats conceded a lot by agreeing to ban PAC funding. And members of both parties joined in approving an amendment to do away with honoraria, thus removing another source of money pollution.

But many Republicans remain disgruntled over the campaign reforms passed Wednesday night, and there's talk of a presidential veto. The House is still laboring on its reform package. …

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