Bush Should Support McCain-Feingold

Today's Florida Times-Union includes a letter to the editor I wrote in support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill:

Bush should support bill

If President-elect George W. Bush wants to change the tone upon his arrival in Washington, he should back the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill in the Senate.

The bill closes a loophole that allows political parties to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals for use in election campaigns. More than $450 million of this "soft money" was raised during this election cycle, compared to $262 million in 1995-96.

Soft money is given to the Democratic and Republican parties under the pretense it will be used only for get-out-the vote efforts, registration drives and ads that call attention to special issues. However, it is often used to fund anonymous ads that attack a political candidate's voting record or policies.

These contributions have a corrosive effect on our democracy, making our office-seekers dependent on big-money donors to a level unprecedented in U.S. history. The ads they pay for are among the most negative in any election, because there is no requirement for the group bankrolling an ad to identify itself.

A version of the McCain-Feingold bill has passed in the House. Sen. John McCain believes that, with one or two new senators in favor of the bill, it can outlast a filibuster and be passed early this year.

In his acceptance speech, Bush said, "It is time to find common ground and build consensus." One of the best ways to begin that effort is by joining the Republican and Democratic senators in support of campaign finance reform.

Sen. John McCain plans to get this bill to a vote early this year, according to a Dec. 28 Washington Post article.

This letter is in the public domain. If you'd like to use any of it in your own letter to a newspaper, senator, or Congress member, I encourage you to do so.

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