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Bipartisan Calls For Campaign Finance Reform -- Jan. 26, 1997

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Powell Calls For Campaign Finance Reform


NEW YORK (AllPolitics, Jan. 27) -- Retired Gen. Colin Powell has joined the chorus for campaign finance reform, saying today that money "is contaminating our political process." Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that GOP fund-raisers offered big donors special access to congressional leaders.

Democratic fund-raising practices have been under intense scrutiny recently, especially fund-raising in the Asian-American community. As Republicans have suggested that the Clinton Administration should be investigated for possibly allowing fund-raising to impact public policy, Democrats have countered that Republican fund-raising practices are suspect, too.

Powell seemed to echo that sentiment. "We cannot keep going on in the way we have over the last generation or so with the way money is contaminating our political process, and that is a bipartisan statement," Powell said on ABC's "Good Morning America."


The Times reported that during 1996, 75 GOP donors -- both individuals and businesses -- that gave $250,000 or more were offered special access to Republican leaders in Congress, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich and then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Known as "season ticket holders," some of these big contributors had interests in pending legislation.

At the Republican National Convention last August, donors were offered skybox seats and seats with the party's nominees. Also promised was "support personnel in Washington, D.C., to help with any party-related request."

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asserted this weekend that the Justice Department investigation of Democratic fund-raising practices won't suffice.

"I think it's very likely that over time the attorney general [Janet Reno] will see that there is an accumulation of evidence that will drive her to appoint an independent counsel," he told CBS' "Face The Nation."

Reno has denied two previous requests from McCain for an independent investigation. McCain, along with Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), is the author of campaign finance reform legislation endorsed recently by President Bill Clinton.

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