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McConnell: Donors Needn't Be Squeamish

By Ceci Connolly

Sunday, July 20, 1997; Page A08

CLEVELAND, July 19—At a time when both political parties are under intense scrutiny for where they get their money and what they do with it, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell traveled to Cleveland this weekend to reassure GOP regulars there's no shame in writing checks.

"The worst thing you can do is feel like you're doing something wrong," he told members of the Republican National Committee today. "You're a practitioner of the First Amendment to the Constitution."

As head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, McConnell must raise millions for GOP candidates, a task that brought him to Cleveland for a fund-raiser the night before his speech. But while some politicians are squeamish about discussing money, McConnell has been outspoken.

"When you hear the words `campaign finance reform,' it's some liberal trying to take away your right to participate in the political process," he said. "When they say we're spending too much, they're saying we're speaking too much."

At breakfast today, he assured party activists he would filibuster any attempts to revamp the nation's campaign finance laws along the lines of a current proposal by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). The only changes he is willing to accept are increases in the limits currently placed on donations by individuals and political action committees.

People have a constitutional right to give, he said. "That's not buying influence; it's supporting your version of America."

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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