Campaign Finance Will Benefit Liberals

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by colt45, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. colt45

    colt45 Guest

    Study Suggests Law On Campaign Finance Will Benefit Liberals

    _____Campaign Finance_____

    By Thomas B. Edsall
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, June 10, 2002; Page A19

    The mega-donors and the largest recipients of the kind of "soft money" that will remain unregulated by the new campaign finance law are overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic, according to a survey by Public Citizen.

    The findings of the study suggest that groups associated with the Democratic Party and liberal causes are likely to be the short-term beneficiaries of the new law that prohibits the parties themselves and members of Congress from raising soft money -- unregulated and unlimited contributions from unions, corporations and individuals.

    These "527 committees," named for a section of the IRS code, are already major players in the use of soft money, and their role is expected to expand dramatically as Nov. 6, the date the new campaign finance law takes effect, approaches.

    Since July 1, 2000, when 527 committees were first required to file reports, the top 100 groups believed to be most active in federal politics have taken in a total of $129 million, according to Public Citizen. This was just over a quarter of what all six national Democratic and Republican committees raised in soft money during the 1999-2000 presidential cycle.

    Public Citizen found that the top "non-politician 527s," which will be able to continue operation after the campaign law takes effect, are the AFSCME Special Account, which is associated with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and which has raised $16.5 million since June 1, 2000; Pro-Choice Vote, an abortion rights group funded entirely by Jane Fonda, which raised $12.7 million; Planned Parenthood Votes, an abortion rights group that raised $7.2 million; and Emily's List, which backs the election of Democratic women who support abortion rights and which raised $6.2 million.

    In the most recent reporting period, the first three months of 2002, the New Democrat Net- work, a centrist, pro-business Democratic organization competing with liberal groups in trying to set an agenda for the Democratic Party, raised $595,300, to bring its 21-month total to $3.6 million. Public Citizen said the NDN received a $50,000 contribution from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and that, over 21 months, the group received $475,000 from drug companies.

    Activist and actress Fonda was by far the largest individual donor, giving $12.8 million, including $400,000 in the first quarter of 2002, to finance Pro-Choice Vote. Jay Harris, a philanthropist on the board of the League of Conservation Voters, gave the League's 527 committee about $1.3 million.

    After the 2002 election, members of Congress will be prohibited from running these soft money committees.

    Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who is considering a bid for the presidency in 2004, raised $461,000 during the first quarter with his affiliated 527 committee, the New American Optimists. Trial lawyers were major supporters -- Edwards was a trial lawyer before the Senate. Lawyers Wade Byrd and John Williams gave $100,000 each.

    On the GOP side, ARMPAC, the 527 committee affiliated with House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (Tex.), raised nearly $400,000 during the first quarter, including $50,000 from Philip Morris, $25,000 from U.S. Tobacco and $25,000 from BellSouth.

    Although tobacco, pharmaceutical and telecommunications companies dominated the flow of money to 527 committees associated with members of Congress, unions, wealthy individuals and the parties were the major donors to the non-affiliated 527 committees, according to the Public Citizen survey.

    © 2002 The Washington Post Company

    NRAJOE YOU TALKIN' TO ME!? Forum Contributor

    Yes sir, they will try and do anything they can to silence our conservative voices.