A reform agenda

Campaign finance: Sen. McCain is right

overhaul of the system must be a priority in the new Congress.

January 02, 2001

ALTHOUGH NOT MUCH of an issue during the fall, campaign finance reform won't take a back seat in 2001 if Sen. John McCain of Arizona has his way.

That's as it should be.

With one more presidential election under our belts, the scrappy former Navy pilot's crusade to clean up our way of underwriting political campaigns makes even more sense.

Election 2000 pointed up some shocking flaws in the nation's electoral system, not the least of which is the use of largely unregulated soft money. Record amounts of soft money, which can be given to parties in unlimited amounts by anyone, flowed last year to both Democrats and Republicans.

As Sen. McCain has pointed out, the current system amounts to little more than legalized influence peddling.

The prospects for Senate passage of the McCain-Feingold bill do appear somewhat brighter in the 107th Congress.

The re-election bids of five of its fiercest opponents were rejected by voters in November. Their replacements have pledged to support the bill.

The lessons of the recent election don't just involve chads. Our system of financing campaigns is as much in need of overhauling as the punch-card system of voting.

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