A non-partisan political organization has established a data base and a toll-free number to aid voters who have questions about presidential, congressional and gubernatorial candidates.
The information is available through the Center for National Independence in Politics, a non-profit group that provides voters with information about how political candidates stand on a variety of issues.
The center's data bank includes biographical information, campaign financing data, voting records and evaluations of candidates made by special interest groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The center was founded by Richard Kimball, an unsuccessful candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona in 1986.
"This [the data base] is designed to help voters defend themselves against what is obviously an abusive system," Mr. Kimball said yesterday during a news briefing in Baltimore.
Mr. Kimball said candidates and their publicists often dictate the tone of campaigns by projecting emotional images. And that discourages voters, because the campaigns offer little substance, Mr. Kimball said.
The center "is based on the notion that the American public is perfectly capable of defending themselves against this nonsense if only given the information," Mr. Kimball said.
The center's toll-free number is (800) 786-6885. Printouts are available for a $3 fee. Printouts can be requested at (900) 786-6885.
The group has a list of distinguished honorary founders from both sides of the political spectrum.
Among them are former Sens. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., and George S. McGovern, D-S.D., and Reps. Ronald Dellums, D-Calif., and Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
The center is funded by foundations and individual contributors, who have no special interest in the political process.
The group refuses donations from corporations and corporate foundations, Mr. Kimball said. Mr. Kimball said he came up with the idea for the center after the 1986 Senate race.