Money Trail Opener

Chronology: Money In Politics

Coffee With The President

Where The Money Was Spent

Was There A Payback?

The Investigations

The White House Defense

Does Everybody Do It?

Running For Dollars

Campaign Law Loopholes

Campaign Sweets

An Experiment In Cincinnati

Is Money Speech?

Poll: Most Say Clinton Acted Illegally Or Unethically

Roadblocks To Reform

Key Terms

Index of VXtreme Video-On-Demand

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In Focus:

Campaign Reform

Gavel To Gavel

Gavel To Gavel: AllPolitics' Campaign Fund-Raising Special Report

Take A Stand

What's your take on the Money Trail controversy?

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Center For Responsive Politics

Project Vote Smart

Bulletin Boards

Join a thread, start a thread -- it's your chance to sound off!
Campaign Finance Reform

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Is It Time To Impeach Reno?




Mike Luckovich: Gingrich And Lott In The Finance Muck

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Bob Lang: Dems Cash and Carey?

The Money Trail: Democracy For Sale

Key Terms From The Money Trail

To understand the story, you've got to know the language

Hard Money vs. Soft Money

Two kinds of political donations are at the heart of the fund-raising controversy: hard and soft money. Presidential and congressional candidates crave hard money because it may be spent directly on their campaigns, in any way they see fit.

But there are limits. Individuals may give a candidate only up to $1,000 per election, and corporate and union donations are barred by federal law.

There are no similar limits on soft money. Soft money may be given in any amount, but only to political parties, not individual candidates. It is supposed to be used to promote the parties, not presidential or congressional candidates.

Independent Expenditures

Independent expenditures are funds spent by individuals, political parties or political action committees on their own campaign messages.

Independent expenditures may be used for ads which are specifically for or against a candidate. However, the ads may NOT be produced with the help or approval of the candidate. There is NO limit to this type of spending.

Independent Counsel

When a high-ranking member of the administration or a member of Congress is accused of a federal crime, an independent counsel may be named to investigate and prosecute the case. The attorney general decides if the appointment is needed.

But a federal court actually picks someone for the job, the idea being that this insures independence. Eighteen independent counsels have investigated officials in every administration since 1978, when Congress created the post, a response to Watergate.

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