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Party Leaders Bicker Over Campaign Finance
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 1) -- So much for the new bipartisan spirit.
Speaking on CNN's Inside Politics Weekend, top Democratic and Republican party leaders clashed on the question of how to repair a campaign finance system that nearly everyone agrees was abused during last year's campaigns.
With their party under fire for unethical -- or illegal -- fundraising, some Democrats now are pushing for a constitutional amendment that would let Congress and the states limit fundraising and spending -- as long as free speech isn't limited.
Romer and McConnell lock horns on proposed campaign finance reforms:
The proposal has ignited fiery debate. "We're all in a mess in this situation," said Roy Romer, Democratic National Committee head and the governor of Colorado. "Money is too influential. I'd ask you to leave this partisan rhetoric aside. We're in a period of time where I think we can really heal this problem as Americans."
But that appeal for solidarity didn't soothe Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the new head of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. "We're not all in a mess. You all are the ones in a mess," McConnell said on CNN.
"You're the ones that turned the White House into Motel 1600 renting out the Lincoln bedroom. There's no evidence that Republicans have engaged in that kind of behavior."
McConnell, who opposes the current campaign reform bills calling for a limit on "soft" money donations, said he thinks the Democrats are trying to divert attention from their possible transgressions of the law to reforming the system.
"This is a Democratic scandal and what the president wants to do, and I assume what Governor Romer wants to do, is change the subject," McConnell said.
President Clinton is pushing hard for a proposed bipartisan campaign finance reform bill. But McConnell said there's little bipartisan support. Moreover, he's threatening a filibuster to stop it.
"All parliamentary options are open in the Senate, as you know," McConnell said. "In order to secure passage of this kind of legislation, it takes many times more than 51."
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