Tags: Buchanan | Nader | Decry | Campaign | Finance | Bill

Buchanan, Nader Decry Campaign Finance Bill

Tuesday, 19 February 2002 12:00 AM

"It's like trying to stop water from running downhill. It will squirt away and keep running downhill and take our democracy with it," Nader said Monday at a Washington news conference.

The bill was passed by the House last week and is awaiting debate in the Senate, where a filibuster has been threatened. Nader did allow for some qualified support for the bill, saying it would be better to pass the bill because "it broke the myth that Congress can never address any kind of campaign finance reform."

But Buchanan split with Nader on the measure, noting his qualms about the legislation.

"I have a problem with the idea that groups of citizens as individuals to get together are not going to be allowed to run ads for and against their candidates and causes right up to Election Day," said Buchanan. "I have a First Amendment problem with that."

The Reform Party candidate, who previously sought the Republican presidential nomination, said he was "not a great believer in the efficacy of campaign finance reform," and warned that further restrictions on political spending might be "a tough way to interfere with capitalist acts between consenting adults.

"In the Congress, they are looking for the corporate money, and the corporate people are looking to buy votes and I think they are going to find a way down the road to get together," Buchanan said.

The Libertarian Party worked actively against the Shays-Meehan bill and will continue to work to defeat it.

Buchanan's concerns over First Amendment issues were echoed by Libertarian Party political director Ron Crickenberger, who called the bill "a horrible infringement on free speech rights."

Crickenberger said the campaign finance proposals to limit political spending by interest groups would amount to "taking away the mutual funds of politics and making it much harder for individual citizens to effect the process."

Although the House passed a major campaign finance bill for the first time last week and similar measures have made it through the Senate in earlier years, the fate of the Shays-Meehan bill remains murky.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., an ardent opponent of restrictions on political spending, said Sunday that he expected 41 senators to oppose the bill, which would be enough to prevent the House bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate.

McConnell told "Fox News Sunday" that he had all but secured the vote of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who had backed an earlier version of the bill, to become the much-needed 41st vote to block the bill.

"Senator Stevens ... is now on our side," said McConnell. "I'm pretty confident that I have 41 senators."

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It's like trying to stop water from running downhill. It will squirt away and keep running downhill and take our democracy with it, Nader said Monday at a Washington news conference. The bill was passed by the House last week and is awaiting debate in the Senate, where a...
Buchanan,,Nader,Decry,Campaign,Finance,Bill
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2002-00-19
Tuesday, 19 February 2002 12:00 AM
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