HIGHTOWER: McCain-Feingold Dead

Responding to a question on a history test, a student wrote: "Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead."Likewise, a piece of legislation to reform Washington's corrupt campaign finance system is still dead, despite claims by some Democrats that they've kept it alive.I'm referring to the McCain-Feingold bill, which was pretty weak "reform" to start with. It would have eliminated some of the loopholes, but it would have kept the basic system of big-money financing intact, allowing corporations to continue buying our government wholesale.Then, in an effort to woo a few Republican votes, Democrats jettisoned about half of the firepower the bill had. Even this emasculated version of reform, however, couldn't muster the votes to pass. Indeed, Republican Leader Trent Lott was able to snuff-out the bill on a procedural move, meaning there wasn't even a vote on the actual reforms.In retaliation, the Democrats blocked Senate passage of other legislation for three weeks, demanding a clean vote on the McCain-Feingold reforms this year, noting that the public wants action now! Never mind that their bill was now barely a slice, much less half-a-loaf, at least there could be a vote on something labeled "reform."But then the Democrats compromised again, agreeing to get out of Lott's way in exchange for his promise to allow a vote on their bill. The Democrats were exultant! Reform lives," they cried!Uh . . . well . . . not really. The vote is not to be until March of next year. And, once again, the vote will not be on the actual reforms, but on another procedural motion. And, even if the Democrats prevail on this, the Republicans promise to filibuster it to death.This is Jim Hightower saying . . . Campaign reform won't be passed by Washington, but there's a growing movement at the state level to stop the corruption. To get involved, call Public Campaign on 202-293-0222.For more information:Public Campaign: 202/293-0222Source:"State leader agrees to a test vote on Campaign finance bill" by Eric Schmitt.New York Times: October 31, 1997.

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