Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Campaign Reform Down, but Not Out

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Campaign Reform Down, but Not Out

Article excerpt

ALTHOUGH election reform was high on the leadership agendas for both the Senate and the House, the Congress ended its 1990 session without enacting legislation. This disappoints many advocates of reform because, while never a sure bet, the landscape looked more favorable for an enactment than anytime in the past decade.

In fact, both the Senate and House passed bills but failed to get together to resolve the many differences. In any case, they saved President Bush a promised veto since the Democrats would not have jettisoned two features he objected to - indirect public financing and limitations on the amounts candidates and the campaigns they control can spend.

On paper, both congressional Democrats and Republicans had much to gain from a changed election law, and the leaderships of both parties were committed. The last time the law was revised was in 1979, and there is need for fine-tuning if not fundamental change. The public perception of congressional ethics is at its lowest in years, considering the savings and loan scandal, the resignations last year of Speaker Jim Wright and Rep. Tony Coelho, and other matters pertaining to morality.

The new Democratic leadership in both houses in the 101st Congress would have gained much acclaim from enactment of election reform. The Senate and House Republicans sought to avoid negative stances of the past, and in fact moved far from previous positions on political action committees and soft money. The House established a special bipartisan committee. Yet areas of agreement were minimal. House Republicans went further in defining their goals than anyone predicted, while the Democrats procrastinated.

In the Senate, Majority Leader George Mitchell and Minority Leader Bob Dole appointed a Campaign Finance Reform Panel of outside experts. Its report sought to break the previous impasse. Following the panel's report, the Democrats and Republicans came up with their own bills, bypassing Rules Committee action. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.