The Michigan Daily - Wednesday. October 27, 1999 - 5
*Abraham to sponsor new reform bill
Continued from Page 1
al, no matter how cynical this debate remains," he said,
"the senator from Wisconsin and I will persevere."
The roiling debate last week reflects a deep philo-
sophical rift between the parties, as liberals press for
more equitable elections and conservatives insist on
fewer barriers to free speech.
The rift extends into Michigan, whose senators -
Carl Levin, a Democrat, and Abraham - voted with
their parties. The state ranked ninth nationwide for soft-
money donations in 1996.
The debate also signals the ever-expanding role of
money in politics and the lengths to which many law-
makers will go to preserve the system that brought them
In the aftermath of Watergate, lawmakers in the mid-
1970s adopted measures to curb the influence of money
in public decision making.
At the heart of the work was a S 1,000 cap on gifts to
individual candidates and a plan for partial public
financing of presidential elections, so long as candidates
adhere to strict spending ceilings.
But even as they set out to democratize elections and
empower ordinary citizens, the lawmakers ignored soft
money, creating a loophole for the nation's wealthiest
individuals and corporations.
Twenty-five years later, soft money makes up a large
chunk of U.S. campaign spending. In the 2000 cycle
alone, the parties are expected to pick up $525 million
'-in soft money, in addition to what the candidates raise.
Gifts come in a wide range of amounts from corpora-
tions and individual citizens. Donations often are in the
hundreds of thousands of dollars and occasionally in the
Soft money originated as a mechanism for donors to
support general party-building activities, including get-
out-the-vote drives, education programs and issue
But many argue that the money serves primarily to let
big donors evade the S1,000 cap. The parties, they say,
work around regulations to direct general donations to
In mid-1996, for example, with the two presidential
candidates' war chests depleted, the parties dipped into
their soft money coffers to fund TV "issue" spots back-
ing the candidates in all but name.
A version of the soft-money ban, often tacked onto
broader reform measures, has floated through Congress
for four years. Republican Senators have blocked it.
But in a sign that reform might be gaining momentum
locally, a Michigan Senate committee pis expected
tomorrow to vote on a campaign finance bill that would
bind elections statewide.
On the federal level, Abraham's new reform package
involves three major approaches to reduce the influence
It requires a S60,000 cap on soft-money gifts; pre-
vents candidates from raising more than 50 percent of
contributions out of state; and adjusts the Sl,000 limit
for inflation, bringing it to S3,000.
Joe Davis. a spokesperson for Abraham, said the bill
has bipartisan backing. He said McConnell and other
GOP leaders have yet to raise objections.
McConnell's chief of staff, Kyle Simmons. said the
senator was "eager" to see the Abraham proposal but did
not expect a vote this year.
Republicans traditionally have opposed campaign
finance reform on the grounds that placing limits on
contributions is akin to censoring political speech.
"I am more fearful of government regulating money
than I am of citizens engaging in a free exchange of
political ideas," said Ari Fleischer, a former top adviser
to Republican Elizabeth Dole.
McConnell has framed his objection to reform on
those constitutional grounds.
But in a landmark 1976 case, Buckley v.daleo, the
Supreme Court upheld the S 1,000 cap, ruling that limits
serve the vital government interest in reducing the
"appearance of corruption."
In contentious floor debate, advocates of reform
argued that a soft-money ban would serve that interest.
"It is that part of Buckley that upholds the constitu-
tionality of limits on contributions, which is at the core
of McCain-Feineolk" Levin said. "That is why we
believe that is perfectly consistent with Buckley."
To bolster charges of systemic corruption, McCain
has itemized examples of special-interest and pork-bar-
rel spending on his campaign Internet site, enraging
many GOP colleagues.
McCain and Senate Democrats contend that soft
money gives the nation's elite exclusive access to
Washington's halls of power and alienates ordinary
Americans from the political process.
Charles Kolb, president of the Committee for
Economic Development, a group of prominent business
leaders, said many in the business community hav e
themselves enjoyed that access but are ready to end it.
"People are feeling disengaged because they think,
I'm not a fat cat," he said. "Why else would you give
money?" he asked.
The Democrats have argued that young people, in
particular, are increasingly detached from politics, as big
money drowns out their voices.
But Fleischer suggested young people simply have
other priorities. He said youth activism may have
declined but that voter participation has always been low
for that age group.
Simmons said McConnell viewed the First
Amendment as "immutable" and a higher priority than
all other concerns. The senator does not believe money
is the root of youth apathy.
Fleischer - a former top aide to House Ways and
Means Committee Chair Bill Archer, the powerful Texas
Republican who oversees the nation's tax system - said
money only buys a donor access.
He insisted that politicians bring "pre-formed ideolo-
gies to Washington" and ultimately vote their con-
Although he favors a soft-money ban, calling some of
the donations "too much," Fleischer said full disclosure
of contributions, with a vigilant media exposing corrup-
tion, is the only viable reform.
"The best disinfectant of corruption is sunshine," he
Two South American degus explore their surroundings yesterday at the Medical
Science Building If. The University has made preparations to ensure that its more
than 55,000 animals will not be adversely affected during the Y2K rollover period.
Continued from Page 1
A Y2K emergency response team
consisting of representatives from
campus divisions such as Housing,
Office of the Registrar and
Department of Public Safety has been
trained to handle potential emergency
situations that may occur between
Dec. 30 to Jan. 4, Griffiths said.
The team is scheduled to rehearse
challenging scenarios in early December.
A portion of the DPS building will be
converted to a Y2K emergency operation
center to condense the University's efforts.
DPS Director Bill Bess said DPS has
thoroughly planned safety measures. The
department plans to increase the amount
of time officers will be working during
the University's cntical period.
Bess said it is beneficial that a limited
number of students will be on campus.
If there are problems, "we can deal
with them in a timely way and get them
corrected before students return to cam-
Bush has a commanding lead in
the poll, with the support of more
than 50 percent of Michigan respon-
Nursing first-year student Kami
Shelton, who this summer was
named Miss Teen Michigan 1999
will introducing Forbes at the
Shelton, who often promotes
abstinence and gives speeches
against abortion, is planning to
attend an event with Forbes at
Domino's Farms earlier in the day.
"We have the same views,"
Shelton said. "Whatever I can do to
help with the campaign I will."
After leaving Ann Arbor, Forbes is
scheduled to speak at a press confer-
ence at a Battle Creek farm and
meet with the Republican Women's
Federation in Kalamazoo.
Forbes made an unsuccessful
GOP bid for president in 1996, with
Bob Dole securing the party's nomi-
pus" on Jan. 5. he said.
The University already has tested stu-
dent registration systems, administration
mainframe computers and the medical
center's main data system.
To care fir the more than 45,000 mice.
6,000 rats and 1,000 frogs and other ani-
mals housed in campus research build-
ings, Director of Unit for Laboratory
Animal Medicine Dan Ringler said !abo-
ratories have taken precautions to ensure
the animals' safety and care.
Ringler said all of the machines and
computers responsible for providing
water to animals and cleaning their cages
have been checked for Y2K compliance
Ringler explained that a power glitch
could impact temperature control, venti-
lation and automatic lighting systems.
But animal houses will receive power
from the University's generator.
Ringler said 50 ULAM staffers are
being asked not to schedule vacations
during the period so that staffers will be
present to check machines after mid-
night. Jan. 1 will be treated as a regulav
business day for ULAM, Ringler said
Continued from Page 1
crossing the street when the accident
happened. "He went to go around her
and she just turned into him.
"He flew off and flipped over the car,"
Several witnesses said Fitzpatrick
appeared to have seen the impending
collision but was unable to react in time.
"He couldn't do anything," LSA first-
year student Dean Joyce said.
As a crowd of several dozen stu-
1ents and passers-by gathered on the
sidewalk, emergency medical crews
from Huron Valley Ambulance attend-
ed to Fitzpatrick for about 15 minutes
before transporting him to University
"The motorcyclist is going to be OK,"
DPS Lt. Robert Neumann said. The dri-
ver and her three passengers were not
DPS officers did not ticket the driver
or Fitzpatrick at the scene, Neumann
said, but either party may receive a cita-
tion if further investigation reveals
"It's illegal to make a U-turn if it can't
be done safely, but there's no blanket
Continued from Page 1
Republican candidates," Eastman
Last month, Republican presiden-
tial candidates Alan Keyes, Gary
Bauer and Forbes attended the
party's biennial conference on
Mackinac Island, Mich.
Texas Gov. George W. Bush
planned to attend but pulled out to
return home after a shooting in a
Fort Worth church.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who
recently announced his bid for the
Republican presidential nomination,
is planning to visit Michigan on
Nov. 10, with stops in Lansing and
Oakland County, Eastman said.
The most recent statewide survey
conducted by polling firm
EPIC/MRA in Lansing placed
Forbes. fourth among Republican
candidates, behind Bush, Elizabeth
Dole and McCain. Dole has since
announced her withdrawal from the
A motorcyclist identified as LSA junior Jimmy Fitzpatrick lies on the street follow-
ing an accident on East Washington Street yesterday.
prohibition on U-turns," he said, adding
that the motorcyclist could be cited for
passing a moving car in a no-passing
"If there's contributory negligence on
both parts, then often tickets aren't writ-
ten," Neumann explained.
After speaking with DPS officers at
the scene, the driver and her passengers
declined to comment.
Fitzpatrick was wearing a helmet at
the time of the accident.
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