News Release

Interviews Available on McCain-Feingold Law

JOHN MOYERS
Editor and publisher of TomPaine.com, Moyers wrote the recent article “Measuring the First Step: Campaign Finance Reform and the ‘Fannie Lou Hamer Standard.'” He said today: “At best, McCain-Feingold is a first step. It does nothing to get at the heart of the problem, which is that we have privately financed public servants. That’s oxymoronic. He who pays the piper calls the tune — we need to give candidates a clean money option.”
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SPENCER OVERTON
An acting professor of law at the University of California at Davis specializing in voting rights, campaign finance and property law, Overton said today: “George W. Bush said Wednesday after signing the McCain-Feingold legislation that he thinks the bill ‘improves the system.’ In fact, the campaign finance legislation does improve the system for Bush. In the 2000 presidential election Bush proved himself to be the king of individual hard money contributions, raising $101 million compared to the $46 million raised by Al Gore. The new legislation increases limits on hard money contributions, from $1,000 to $2,000. As a result of this increase Bush’s hard money advantage will grow even larger in 2004, and he will probably be the first major party candidate to forgo public financing in a general election. Currently, less than 1 percent of Americans make reportable hard money contributions, and studies of these contributors show that 80 percent are male, 81 percent have household incomes over $100,000, and more than 95 percent are white. Under the increased hard money limits, this narrow class of individuals will have even more influence.” Author of “But Some Are More Equal: Race, Exclusion, and Campaign Finance,” Overton believes further reform is needed. “Now that the soft money ban has passed, we should expand the objectives of reform and focus on the inclusion of all Americans in democracy. While the soft money ban prevents corruption of government that comes from unlimited soft money contributions, the law as a whole does not make democracy more accessible for average Americans.”

CRAIG McDONALD
Director of Texans for Public Justice, McDonald said today: “Bush may well have not signed the legislation if it were not for the Enron scandal, but there is speculation that he and Karl Rove will exploit provisions that actually help Bush, who was the first major candidate to forgo the campaign funding limits during the primaries in 2000. With the increases in hard money limits, Bush could easily amass $450 million or more for his re-election campaign using a pyramid scheme reminiscent of his ‘Pioneer’ network. This allows him to totally blow off the Watergate reforms and become the first major party candidate to bypass the publicly financed general election campaign in 25 years.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378