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Campaign Finance Reform

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NEWS
December 19, 2003 | By MATTHEW RADER & TROY MADRES
SAYING THAT campaign finance reform is long overdue in Philadelphia is like saying that a $100,000 campaign contribution might get you a little extra consideration at City Hall - both are painfully gross understatements. And so, before heading home for the holidays, our elected officials yesterday faced a major gut-check - pass legislation that would, at long last, curb the influence of big money in Philadelphia politics . . . or preserve the status quo. Can you guess how this one turned out?
NEWS
November 23, 2000 | By Thomas Fitzgerald, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
Campaign finance reform died yesterday in the Pennsylvania Senate after a prolonged illness. It was 20 months old. Friends and supporters said the cause of death was indifference, compounded by the power of special-interest money. A bill limiting contributions and providing public financing in campaigns for governor was approved in the House, but it expired without so much as a vote from a Senate committee, where it had languished since March. The legislature finished its two-year session yesterday morning at 3:30, when the Senate adjourned after a flurry of last-minute votes.
NEWS
December 6, 2003
Before the ifs and buts get trotted out, let's say right away that City Council's 10-4 vote Thursday to limit campaign contributions for Council and mayoral candidates was absolutely the right thing to do, at the right time. Philadelphia is increasingly a city living in shame, and not just because of a high-profile federal investigation. Unlike the rest of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Philly has no limits on the amount of money individuals or political action committees can give to local candidates.
NEWS
April 13, 1990
It was somewhat reassuring to see that the Democratic legislative leadership in New Jersey has promised to move toward reforming the state's campaign finance laws this year. The promise by Assembly Speaker Joseph V. Doria Jr. of Hudson County was particularly welcome after the state attorney general, Robert J. Del Tufo, criticized the overreliance on special-interest money and called for tougher finance laws. Some of these good intentions came on the heels of the decision by the Attorney General's Office last week to drop a criminal investigation instigated by Karen Kotvas, a lobbyist for trial lawyers.
NEWS
December 12, 2003
Understand this: The ants will get back into the kitchen. The rulings the U.S. Supreme Court issued Wednesday to uphold most of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law were surprising, momentous and welcome. The law is a partial but useful step toward cleaning up the squalor of America's checkbook politics. The scandal of huge, unregulated "soft" money contributions - which bought access, influence and results out of Congress - had to be stemmed. The reform law, does that.
NEWS
September 23, 1997 | By Chris Gates and Ric Bainter
For most Americans, the Senate hearings on the funding of the 1996 presidential election, chaired by Sen. Fred Thompson, only confirm what they had already concluded: Everybody does it, and the system stinks. While each party tries to stress the wrongdoings of the other, their main accomplishment is to alienate citizens further from their government and their democracy. For example, the Republican National Committee recently published a report that is sure to disappoint Americans who believe in real campaign-finance reform.
NEWS
July 12, 2001
On Feb. 29, 2000, my U.S. senator, Rick Santorum, told me that political contributors have the right to give any amount of money to the candidate of their choice and that he has the right to accept any amount that is offered. This is wrong. The campaign-finance reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate in May is finally coming before the U.S. House of Representatives. The House version is called the Shays-Meehan bill, named for its House sponsors, but it is essentially the Senate's McCain-Feingold bill.
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NEWS
June 6, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A 2012 Princeton University graduate hopes to add a burst of youth to Congress, launching a campaign to represent Delaware County and other Philadelphia suburbs. Lindy Li, who grew up in Malvern and has a home in Radnor, is running for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania's Seventh District, which also sprawls through Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Lancaster Counties. Li, 24, said she was "ready to unleash the power of my generation. " She will turn 25, the minimum age to serve in Congress, in December.
NEWS
November 21, 2011
In 1969, Congress considered the first of the modern era's many campaign-finance regulations. Major laws followed in 1974 and again in 2002. But now that the Supreme Court has invalidated much of the latter as well as some earlier prohibitions on business and union spending, the end of "campaign-finance reform" seems near. Many will lament its passing. Fewer will note its failures. To diminish private political spending, lawmakers can restrict contributions or subsidize candidates.
NEWS
June 27, 2011
KNOW WHO'S HAPPIEST about the no-tax, cut-spending state budget Gov. Corbett and Republican lawmakers finalize this week? He's a bartender in central Pennsylvania with guns, grown sons but no daughters, no living parents and no real interest in any governmental reforms. I say this because what's cooking in the Capitol is a new law extending happy hour (not making this up), a new law allowing gun owners to blast away when feeling threatened, a new law certain to make obtaining abortions more difficult and a new law likely to restrict elderly voters' access to polling places.
NEWS
June 4, 2010 | By CATHERINE LUCEY, luceyc@phillynews.com 215-854-4172
Lobbyists roaming the corridors in City Hall will soon have to stand up and be counted, after City Council approved legislation yesterday requiring them to register with the city and file public reports on their expenditures. Council yesterday also passed several ethics bills that deal with campaign-finance rules and government reform. But it did not act on controversial legislation that would allow city employees to engage in political activity in their off-hours, as ward leaders, party committeemen or campaign workers.
NEWS
May 23, 2010
The primary elections in Pennsylvania demonstrated again that widespread calls for change aren't having much impact in Harrisburg. The failed gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Anthony Hardy Williams did serve one useful purpose - it highlighted the need for campaign-finance limits in Pennsylvania. The state has no restrictions on the amount of money that individuals or political action committees can donate to a candidate for public office. It's a perennial embarrassment.
NEWS
March 18, 2010
Pennsylvania legislators should get their own house in order before pushing for campaign-finance limits on the national level. Some Democratic state legislators met recently at the National Constitution Center to call for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing limits on campaign donations. It's a noble goal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous ruling that permits unlimited corporate and union funding of elections. "Our political system is broken," said Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks)
NEWS
March 15, 2010
USUALLY, we're delighted when state lawmakers talk about reforming the constitution. State government desperately needs to modernize, but tomorrow a Senate panel will consider taking a step backward. The Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Senate Bill 707, which would ban gay marriage in Pennsylvania. During these tough times, we can think of a few better uses of the Legislature's time. How about a constitutional amendment to require lawmakers to pass a budget on time? Or to shrink the size and cost of the Legislature?
NEWS
November 20, 2009
LIKE NIGHT follows day, scandals in Harrisburg are followed by cries for reform. This time, though, cries are coming from an unusual place: the governor's office. Gov. Rendell called a news conference earlier this week to vow that he would spend the remainder of his term pushing for big reforms. Rendell wants major changes in redistricting, campaign finance and judicial elections. Normally, we'd say these ideas will be dead on arrival, especially in Harrisburg. Governors who have little more than a year left in office often announce bold, impossible plans - like flying to the moon or curing cancer - with little risk, since they know few will take them seriously.
NEWS
January 26, 2009
A definition of a watchdog is "one who serves as a guardian or protector against waste, loss or illegal practices. " For too long, that crucial role has been missing in Philadelphia. But the newly independent Board of Ethics, and the ethics watchdog, now appear to be on the case. Last week two elected officials were sanctioned for improperly doling out cash in the hotly contested 2007 primary. The action underscores the need for a task force launched by Mayor Nutter to enhance ethical standards for campaigns and the conduct of all business at City Hall.
NEWS
October 21, 2008
The worldwide economic crisis has given added meaning to the usually low-key race for Pennsylvania state treasurer. Voters are blessed to have two highly qualified candidates running for the post. Republican Tom Ellis, 49, is an attorney in the public finance department at the politically connected Ballard Spahr Ingersoll & Rand law firm, where Gov. Rendell used to hang his shingle. Ellis has been a Montgomery County commissioner and Cheltenham Township commissioner. Democrat Rob McCord also is 49 and lives in Montgomery County.
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