SENATE Majority Leader Trent Lott's strategy backfired...


October 09, 1997

SENATE Majority Leader Trent Lott's strategy backfired badly on Republicans on Tuesday. There is no way they can now escape the label of "killers of campaign finance reform."

After all, it was Mr. Lott who refused to bring the bipartisan bill up for a vote. It was Mr. Lott who maneuvered to try to attach a "killer" amendment. It was Mr. Lott who then shelved the reform proposal.

No Democratic handiwork was involved in smothering badly needed changes in fund-raising laws. All the anti-reform votes came from Republicans.

This sorry spectacle ends hopes that Senate and now House hearings into Democratic fund-raising abuses will lead to changes in campaign-financing laws. The hearings could wind up as highly partisan, and political, charades.

Mr. Lott's botched strategy lets Democrats shift the focus away from their clear excesses of the 1996 presidential campaign -- and leaves the Republicans on the wrong side of an issue popular with voters back home.

THE SPOTLIGHT will be on volunteerism when some 1,200 people convene today at the Convention Center to develop strategies for helping children.

"Maryland's Promise" is an acknowledgement that government can't do it all, that adults share responsibility for the future of children. Yet only 50 percent of this state's adults are involved in volunteer activities that have an impact on kids, such as tutoring, mentoring or coaching.

The event is a followup to the President's Summit on Volunteerism held last April. Of special concern are the 38,000 "at risk" youngsters in Maryland.

If the all-day summit moves the volunteerism needle even slightly, it will have been time well spent. Their efforts, though, have much greater potential.

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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