Campaign Regulation a Casualty of Terrorist Attack?; Union Asked to Stop Funding of Anti-War Groups; more

David W, Almasi, Editor
The National Center for Public Policy Research
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* Campaign Regulation a Casualty of Terrorist Attack?
* Union Asked to Stop Funding of Anti-War Groups
* Voters Make Oklahoma a Right-to-Work State
* Support for Campaign Regulation Mainly Rooted in the Media

Campaign Regulation a Casualty of Terrorist Attack?

An effort in Congress to further increase campaign finance regulation is having trouble finding the remaining supporters needed to bring legislation to the floor of the House of Representatives. Observers say that the terrorist attack on America could be a contributing factor to this failure.

Proposed regulations include a ban on national political parties raising "soft money" donations that are not spent directly on candidates, restrictions on state "soft money" fundraising and new rules for how campaign money can be spent.

Proponents of new regulation are seeking to force a vote on their bill with a discharge petition. It takes 218 signatures of House members to discharge a bill without the consent of the House leadership. Since July, 210 members have signed the petition, but only one has signed since September 11.

"We started to do really well," said Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT), one of the bill’s sponsors, "then we had something happen on 9-11, and we totally shut down."

House leaders scheduled the campaign finance regulation bill to come up for a vote last July, but proponents believed the rules governing the debate were not in their favor and voted against bringing the bill up for consideration.

Union Asked to Stop Funding of Anti-War Groups

A coalition of organizations and individuals recently sent a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney calling for it to sever both funding and affiliation with leftist organizations publicly opposing U.S. efforts to fight terrorism. The letter has thus far gone unanswered and unheeded. Union member dues, presumably, still are supporting these organizations.

In the letter, authored by National Center for Public Policy Research President Amy Ridenour and sent on October 5, it is noted that the left-wing Institute for Policy Studies, Interhemispheric Resource Center and Foreign Policy in Focus "are circulating among policymakers a petition opposing a major military response to the terrorist attacks. It also opposes needed immediate changes within our U.S. intelligence agencies pending time-consuming further studies and counsels that changing U.S. international policies to conform to the wishes of the terrorist groups is the key way to deter future terrorist attacks."

"These groups each advertise, to various extents, connections to and support from the AFL-CIO and AFSCME. An AFL-CIO representative is listed as a member of the board of directors of one and on the Advisory Council of another. Both the AFL-CIO and AFSCME are listed as donors."

Expressing condolences for the many union members who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, and noting Sweeney’s public statement that President George W. Bush had "any and all assistance from the labor movement," the coalition asks Sweeney "to repudiate these [anti-war] views and indicate publicly that the AFL-CIO does not support this petition. We further ask that the AFL-CIO and its member unions discontinue all support for and formal connection with the aforementioned groups as long as they and the AFL-CIO continue to disagree on this very critical U.S. national security issue."

Campaign Finance Factoids

Voters Make Oklahoma a Right-to-Work State

Oklahoma became the 22nd state to adopt right-to-work protections for workers when voters approved a special statewide referendum by 54.3% on September 25. State Question 695 adds language to the state constitution that clearly defines the term "labor organization" and prohibits "new employment contracts that impose certain requirements" and "require joining or quitting a labor organization" to get or keep a job as well as requiring that "employees would have to approve deductions from wages paid to labor organizations." Kansas is the only other state to pass such protections by referendum, and this victory could effect similar efforts in Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Montana.

Support for Campaign Regulation Mainly Rooted in the Media

In a recent edition of The Weekly Standard, Northeastern University Professor William G. Mayer wrote that "no matter how often the nation’s editorialists lecture them on [campaign reform], the American public consistently says they’d prefer that Congress and the President move on to other matters." He cited that further campaign finance regulation has consistently polled in the low single digits among people’s national priorities in numerous polls conducted between 1994 and 2001. The media, however, are still pushing for it harder than ever. Mayer cites statistics compiled by the Alliance for Better Campaigns that notes "the New York Times and Washington Post together have published more than 80 editorials on campaign finance reform in 2001 alone, plus another 80 or so op-ed pieces or letters-to-the-editor on the subject."

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.