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New Rules of Campaign Finance

Monday, 18 February 2002 12:00 AM

There is still some hope that this hideous campaign finance reform bill will be killed by (a) a Senate filibuster or (b) a presidential veto. In case that doesn't happen, you need to know how to deal with some of the new rules.

I want to draw you an illustration here … so I'll use a good local Atlanta controversy. It's called the Northern Arc.

The Northern Arc is a huge limited access highway that is being proposed north of Atlanta. It will carve an arc through North Georgia from Interstate 75 on the west to Interstate 85 on the east.

The Northern Arc would be good for Atlanta because it would probably ease traffic congestion on urban interstates.

It could well be bad for North Georgia because it would bring increased traffic and congestion – and it would cut through some beautiful countryside. Many of the people who moved to North Georgia did so to escape the very congestion that the Northern Arc will bring to their communities.

So – what does this all have to do with the campaign finance reform act? Glad you asked.

Let's say that community activists in North Georgia are steadfastly opposed to the Arc. Let's also say, for the sake of argument, that the editorial writers of Atlanta's newspapers are just as steadfastly FOR the arc.

Now let's bring the election into the picture. We'll say you have an incumbent congressman in North Georgia who supports the arc and is ready to seek federal funds to make sure it gets built. This congressman has the full support of the Atlanta newspapers and they are planning on running a huge editorial next week to support his re-election.

The incumbent's challenger is opposed to the Arc. If he gets elected he will block any federal spending on the project.

You and a group of your fellow citizens have organized against the Arc. You have collected some contributions from like-minded neighbors and you want to do something to support the challenger. You know that the Atlanta newspapers and television stations are expressing their strong support for the incumbent, so you decide to fight back with some publicity of your own. You go to the three largest television stations in North Georgia and tell them that your group wants to run some ads opposing the Arc and supporting your candidate for Congress.

Now is when you learn about the campaign finance reform act. These television stations tell you that federal law does not permit them to run your ads. The election is less than 60 days away and your ad is considered to be an "issue" ad … and since it is paid for by someone other than the candidate, it is illegal.

OK, fine! You'll just give the money to the candidate and HE can run the ad! Sorry, no go there either. The ads are expensive. Way above the campaign contribution limits.

Sorry … you're just out of luck. Those newspapers can just keep right on editorializing for the incumbent, while you sit there with your hands tied.

What do you think the purpose of this law was anyway?

Oh Boy! The feds are in charge!

On virtually every news program I watched this morning the lead story was about today being the first day that airport security screeners report to the federal government instead of to their private security companies.

This is really good news for only two groups, airlines and government employee unions.

Airlines originally supported the federalization of airport security workers because they saw it as a way to get rid of a headache. It seems to be a new great American pastime – passing your responsibilities off on the federal government.

Changes? Let's see …

Things that will be the same:

We talked about this long and hard on Friday – and I don't particularly want to resurrect the conversation for today. I'm just putting this here to make it a part of the record.

Last week Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on an international MTV broadcast. Young folks from around the world had the opportunity to ask him questions.

One young woman from Italy brought up the teachings of the Catholic Church on the use of condoms. Powell said that he respected the teachings of the Church and the pope.

He then went on to say that IF a person was sexually active and IF that person felt at risk, that person should consider using a condom.

Then … all hell broke loose.

On Friday the country was treated to the unbelievable spectacle of Republicans grinding their teeth and wailing over Powell's remarks.

How could he? How could this man actually suggest that people at a risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease use a condom? Doesn't he know that the ONLY real answer for these people is to just stop having sex?

This is where Republicans lose it. You are going to get absolutely NOWHERE by condemning someone who suggests that condoms are a useful way to combat the spread of AIDS.

Tell a young adult that the only proper way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is to stop having sex and they're going to look at you as if you have three eyes. The natural outcome is that they're going to view all of your ideas as being just as idiotic.

Powell did get some support from the Republicans over the weekend. Rep. Henry Hyde, a strong an anti-abortionist as there is in the House, said he had "no complaints" about Powell's remarks. Good for him.

The sooner Republicans get out of folks' bedrooms and sex lives the better chance they'll have of saving our republic from Democratic Socialism.

You don't think they'll find Eric Robert Rudolph up there in Nobel, Ga., do you? Gary Condit says that Chandra Levy's parents ought to be glad he's running again. He says it will keep the issue of their missing daughter alive. What a complete jerk. I've finally figured it out. Hillary used to be an Olympic speed skater.

Somebody needs to stop CNN's Bruce Morton before he EXPLODES!

All day long boats run up and down Florida's Hillsborough River. Large boats. Boats capable of carrying over 1,000 pounds of bad stuff like poisons and chemical or biological agents. All day long these boats move up and down the river attracting no real attention.

Then here comes John Clonts. He's trying to sell an airplane – a seaplane, to be exact. He puts his prospective buyer into the right seat and takes off from Vandenberg Airport. It's a seaplane, so the buyer wants to see how it handles on the water. Clonts touches down on the Hillsborough River … then immediately takes off again.

All hell breaks loose!

Terrorists! It must be terrorists! What did they put in the water? Is the water poisoned now? When are the dead fish going to start floating to the surface?

Soon after Clonts touched down on the river, the manhunt started. Police, state troopers and the FBI. Finally they tracked him down and he spent quite a few hours answering some sharp questions.

Bottom line – if you're a boater, you're fine. If you're in an airplane, you're a suspect. Remember – the USS Cole wasn't attacked with a an airplane in Yemen. It was a boat. A little rubber boat.

But let's ignore the boats and continue to treat everyone in airplanes as terrorists. Why let reason get in the way of hysteria?

Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were awarded "duplicate gold medals" last night for their performance last week in the Olympic skating competition. Unfortunately, they have to give up the silver medals they were awarded. It would have been nice for them to have both. That would prove they were the winners ... a gold and a half!

The Russian pair must have felt very stupid indeed standing up there yesterday with Jamie and David. Oh ... and that French judge? History.

Gov. Roy Barnes said last week that he hopes the Georgia Boxing Commission does not allow Mike Tyson to box Lennox Lewis in Atlanta this June. The governor called Tyson a "sexual predator."

"It became very clear how the governor feels, and if there is this type of hostility, then we're not going to go there," Tyson spokesman Shelly Finkel said. "I do believe it is a loss to your city."

Hey … I know Shelly Finkel. Funny how his opinion of Tyson changed when he started representing him.

Saudi Arabia uses Islamic law. That means lashes for punishment. Sometimes they even cut off the hands of thieves and behead people.

But this IS unusual ... a Saudi has been sentenced to six years in prison AND 4,750 lashes for sleeping with his wife's sister. But in news that I'm sure makes him feel better, he will only receive them 95 at a time.

The offending woman will receive six months in jail and 65 lashes ... the lighter sentence is because she turned him in and cooperated with the investigation.

Could we see that here if the Shiite Baptists ever get control? Oops, sorry. Can't help myself.

Been listening to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton lately? If you have been, and if you believe what you've heard, then you are almost certain that racism is flourishing in America and that the "system” is working as hard as ever to make sure that blacks are kept down.

Here are a few "did you knows":

Did you know that black median household income grew 15 percent from 1989 to 1999? That's compared to a 6 percent growth for white families.

Did you know that median income for blacks grew 32 percent during that same period? For whites it was a 14 percent growth.

Did you know that the number of black-owned businesses increased by 26 percent from 1992 to 1997? That happened during a period when private businesses were growing by only 7 percent.

Yup, us white folks are doing a real good job of keeping blacks in poverty, aren't we?

The Washington Times is running a series of articles this week entitled "Black Money, the Rising Tide of Wealth in Black America." Today's installment is titled "Black and Rich." Here's your link:


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There is still some hope that this hideous campaign finance reform bill will be killed by (a) a Senate filibuster or (b) a presidential veto.In case that doesn't happen, you need to know how to deal with some of the new rules. I want to draw you an illustration here … so...
Monday, 18 February 2002 12:00 AM
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