2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 13, 2004
More soft money used in election NEWS INBRIEF
WASHINGTON (AP) - Whatever
the reasons John Kerry and the Demo-
crats lost the race for the White House,
lack of money wasn't one.
Tax-exempt pro-Democratic groups
raising big checks for this year's elec-
tion collected almost twice as much
money as their Republican rivals in the
presidential race, a study shows. The
financial advantage comes in addition
to record fundraising by Kerry, the
unsuccessful candidate, and the Demo-
In all, nonparty political groups,
known as 527s because of the tax code
section that covers them, raised about
$534 million and spent roughly $544
million in the 2003-04 election cycle,
the analysis by the nonpartisan Political
Money Line campaign finance tracking
The prolific fundraising is a sign that
such groups, many of which debuted in
the 2004 election season, will have no
problem surviving the competition for
contributions, Kent Cooper, co-founder
of Political Money Line, said yesterday.
Fundraising drives over websites and
through e-mail helped several become
political players very quickly, he said.
"I think it shows you that with the
Internet, anyway; your lines of commu-
nication can be large pipelines for quick
money," Cooper said.
The presidential race drew most of
their attention. Groups supporting John
Kerry or opposing President Bush raised
from raising six- and seven-figure dona-
tions to finance such expensive activities.
The outside groups' similarities in objec-
$266 million. Those
opposing Kerry or
backing Bush col-
lected $144 million,
the Political Money
Line said. The
study was based
on a review of the
finance reports to
the Internal Rev-
groups soon after
a law took effect in
"... With the Internet,
anyway, your lines
can be large
- Kent Cooper
Co-founder, Political Money Line
tive to party com-
watchdogs to char-
acterize them as
relying in part on
over Democrats in
tions in modest
amounts such as
$10 or $20 as well
licans such as Texas homebuilder Bob
Perry. His donations helped fund the
anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth, whose allegations that Kerry
exaggerated his decorated Vietnam War
service record monopolized attention in
the campaign for weeks last summer.
Their late start limited their impact on
the presidential race.
The anti-Bush groups, meanwhile,
had millions of dollars on hand by
the time Kerry wrapped up the Dem-
ocratic primaries last winter. They
spent big on TV ads that kept Kerry's
side on the air as he worked to rebuild
his campaign fund.
In addition to the pro-Democratic
outside groups' financial advantage
over their pro-Bush counterparts in
the presidential race, the Democratic
National Committee out-raised the
Republican National Committee by
several million dollars during the
two-year election cycle.
Although Bush raised an all-time
presidential record of $273 million
from private contributors, Kerry was
not far behind. He collected a Demo-
cratic-record $249 million after veer-
ing from party tradition and becoming
the first Democratic nominee ever to
skip public financing and its spending
limits during the primaries, as Bush
did in 2000 and 2004.
IIl.'Uli JUUhl\I!t ii JU'AWI i itW1\hI Pn UiUJil (JN .;,
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Palestinian attack kills four Israelis
Palestinian militants blew up an Israeli army base at the Gaza-Egypt crossing
yesterday by sneaking more than a ton of explosives through a tunnel, killing four
Israeli soldiers and wounding at least 10 - the largest Palestinian attack in the
month since Yasser Arafat's death.
Shooting broke out after the blast, which collapsed several structures at the
crossing and damaged others. Israel said the attack jeopardizes peace moves and
demanded Palestinian action to stop the militants.
"As of now we have at least 10 people who were hurt, four dead and the
efforts for the rescue operation still continue," said Raanan Gissin, a top
aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in an interview with Associated Press
The military said one soldier was missing, apparently trapped under
that banned national party committees
from collecting "soft money" - cor-
porate or union contributions in any
amount and unlimited donations from
Leading groups such as the Media
Fund and America Coming Together,
jump-started by multimillion-dollar
donations from wealthy businessmen
such as George Soros, focused on adver-
tising and get-out-the-vote operations.
That eased pressure on the national
Democratic Party, which was prohibited
I as checks up to
the new individu-
al donor of $25,000 per year, initially
held off on formation of their own 527
Instead, they argued that the pro-
Democratic organizations violated the
new law's broad ban on the use of soft
money to influence federal elections.
The Federal Election Commission
failed to curb the groups' activities,
however, and GOP activists decided last
spring to forge ahead with their own
The new Republican groups quickly
raised millions from wealthy Repub-
The attack was another sign that a lull in violence that followed Arafat's death on
Nov. 11 is over. On Tuesday, an Israeli soldier was killed in a blast at the entrance to
another tunnel near the Gaza-Israel border, setting off Israeli retaliation that killed
Blast kills at least 15, wounds 58 in market
One year later,
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In the year
since he was captured and hustled away
to a secret location, Saddam Hussein
has taken up gardening, undergone a
hernia operation and written poetry that
one visitor describes as "rubbishy."
What he has not done is meet with
any of the 20 lawyers who claim to
represent him. And with the country in
the grips of an insurgency that remains
strong, predicting when Iraq's most
famous prisoner will be tried is no eas-
ier now than it was on the day he was
pulled from his hiding spot in a spider
hole near his hometown of Tikrit.
When Saddam first appeared before
an Iraqi court in July, some officials pre-
dicted a swift trial. Ever since, they have
said October, November or by the end
of the year. Now, they expect it no ear-
Saddam Hussein appears in a courtroom at Camp Victory, at a former
Saddam palace on the outskirts of Baghdad on July 1.
lier than the beginning of 2006, Iraq's
National Security Adviser Mouwafak
al-Rubaie told The Associated Press.
"This is going to be probably the
trial of the century and we have to get
it right," al-Rubaie said. "We can't sud-
denly try him and sentence him to either
life in prison or whatever, execute him
100 times as some people want to do."
Officials say the work of gathering
evidence - documents, mass grave
sites, testimony from victims - con-
tinues away from the public eye and
beyond the reach of the insurgents. They
insist that it is being done meticulously
U.S. officials with the Department
of Justice's Regime Crimes Liaison
Office are advising the Iraqi Special
Tribunal on the process of bringing
Saddam to trial. The Americans paid
the tribunal's budget of $75 million
But with elections approaching on
Jan. 30, the Iraqi government is in flux
and is likely to stay that way for another
year until a new constitution is drafted
and another round of elections is held
Trainers also face a dearth of qual-
ified Iraqi prosecutors, defense law-
yers and judges. If proper attorneys
are found, they take a new kind of
risk - threat from both the guerril-
las, believed to be mostly Sunni Mus-
lims like Saddam, or others trying to
stymie the trial.
There are few Iraqi lawyers willing
to represent him, while prosecutors fear
challenging him. The same goes for
the judges who are overseeing the case,
slowing its work.
"At various points in time they have
had a number of judges who have since
withdrawn," said Hania Mufti, a spokes-
woman for New York-based Human
Rights Watch who has followed the
case. "So that's been a practical problem
on the ground."
That fact has been sobering for the
Americans, who predicted Saddam's
capture would cripple the insurgency.
They portrayed violence immediately
after his capture as the last gasp of des-
"Saddam's era is over," Air Force
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, said days after Sad-
dam was captured. "But it takes time for
people to accept the changes."
Since then, the guerillas have contin-
ued exacting a bloody toll against U.S.
troops and their Iraqi allies.
The United States is increasing troop
levels to 150,000, higher than they were
when the war began, in hopes of provid-
ing safety for elections set for Jan. 30.
U.S. attention has also shifted to
another figure - Abu Musab al-Zarqa-
wi - believed to be leading the brutal
campaign of hostage-takings, behead-
ings and bombings that victimized both
Americans and Iraqis.
Saddam first appeared before the court
July 1, without a lawyer. He was present-
ed with seven preliminary charges that
included gassing thousands of Kurds in
1988, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the
suppression of 1991 revolts by Kurds
and Shiites, the murders of religious and
political leaders and the mass displace-
ment of Kurds in the 1980s.
A bomb exploded in a market packed with Christmas shoppers yesterday, kill-
ing at least 15 people and shattering a months-long lull in terror attacks in the
volatile southern Philippines, where Muslim and communist rebels are active.
The homemade bomb, concealed in a box, went off in the meat section of the
market in General Santos, about 620 miles south of Manila. Officials imme-
diately bolstered security in the predominantly Christian port city of 500,000
people, fearing more attacks.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said there was no way to justify "this
No one claimed responsibility, and it was not yet clear whether terrorist
groups were involved. Muslim and communist rebels both operate in areas
around General Santos.
The city had been largely tranquil since a bomb killed 14 people in a shop-
ping mall in 2002. Authorities blamed the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf
and a larger separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Some of those
arrested are being tried on multiple murder charges.
Two troops die in U.S. strike on Fallujah
American warplanes pounded Fallujah with missiles yesterday as insurgents
fought running battles with coalition forces in the volatile western Iraqi city. The
U.S. military said two troops died in separate incidents.
Several detained leaders of Saddam Hussein's regime began refusing meals in
apparent protest against their upcoming trials, U.S. military officials and a lawyer
said. Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was not among them.
In Jordan, Saddam's attorneys argued ahead of today's first anniversary of his cap-
ture that the former president was being held illegally by U.S. and Iraqi authorities.
"It was more of a forced abduction that later became compulsory concealment
and solitary confinement, acts rejected by all international conventions," said a
statement released yesterday by the team.
Inquiry into candidate's poisoning reopened
Ukrainian prosecutors re-opened their investigation into allegations Viktor Yush-
chenko was poisoned after doctors who treated the opposition leader confirmed he
had been slipped the toxic chemical dioxin in early September. Yushchenko returned
home yesterday to campaign for this month's presidential run-off vote.
Yushchenko said he didn't want the poisoning issue to overshadow the
Dec. 26 vote, but the director of Vienna's elite Rudolfiner said that a poten-
tial criminal case could be involved.
"We are not dealing with simple pimples, we are dealing with a poisoning
and the suspicion of third-party involvement," Dr. Michalel Zimpfer said.
Doctors at Vienna's elite Rudolfiner clinic said it took a newly developed test,
conducted by a lab in Amsterdam where Yushchenko's blood samples were sent, to
determine beyond doubt that it was dioxin poisoning that caused a mystery illness
in September that left Yushchenko disfigured and in pain.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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