GOP Senator Sees No Penalty for Killing Finance-Reform Bid

By Blomquist, Brian | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 22, 1996 | Go to article overview

GOP Senator Sees No Penalty for Killing Finance-Reform Bid


Blomquist, Brian, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Sen. Mitch McConnell has never been shy about his desire to kill campaign-finance reform.

"This is the dumbest idea I've heard since the 104th Congress was sworn in," the Kentucky Republican responded when House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Georgia Republican, and President Clinton agreed in the summer of 1995 to create a bipartisan commission to craft a reform plan.

Mr. McConnell then promised he'd do everything in his power to stop such a commission from forming. So far that's been easy, because Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gingrich haven't pushed the commission beyond the concept stage.

Other campaign-finance legislation has arisen, however, and Mr. McConnell has been right there to shoot it down. In June, he successfully filibustered a bill in the Senate, burying campaign reform for the year.

About an hour after the bill died, the three-term senator scoffed at the suggestion that he and other Republicans would pay a price at election time for their obstruction, reminding observers that Republicans killed a bill in 1994 that would have capped spending and subsidized campaigns.

"My party did the slaying then, and five weeks later we won the biggest victory of this century," Mr. McConnell said, referring to the 1994 Republican sweep of the House and Senate.

Now Democrats are scrambling to defend large contributions from foreigners and Bob Dole is saying he'd like to see the law changed so only U.S. citizens could give to federal campaigns.

Campaign finance, though, does not seem to be a major issue to voters, if Mr. McConnell's Senate race is any indication.

"I haven't heard a peep about it," said Mr. McConnell's campaign manager, Kyle Simmons. "Jobs, taxes, education, crime - those are the key issues here. …

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