In Defense of McCain-Feingold
George F. Will ["Corrupt Campaign 'Reform,' " op-ed, June 29] is quick to dismiss suggestions of corruption in the political process. Most people agree, however, that the wealthy interests funneling millions in "soft money" to the political parties had a serious corrupting influence on government. Washington insiders may find this unremarkable, but the American people don't agree, and neither did the Supreme Court when it rejected a First Amendment challenge to the major provisions of the McCain-Feingold legislation in 2003.
Mr. Will also repeats the false argument that our reforms banned speech and were intended to protect incumbents. Actually, by getting rid of unlimited soft-money contributions, we eliminated one of the biggest obstacles to challengers being elected. And McCain-Feingold simply said that groups that run ads close to an election have to play by the same rules that candidates do, rather than spending unlimited corporate or union treasury money. Reforms like McCain-Feingold bring us closer to a democracy where all citizens, not just people with money, have power.
U.S. Senator (D-Wis.)