David Broder fails to take account of the game being played by Sen. Mitch McConnell when he cites as an "interesting point" McConnell's contention that since federal contribution limits have not helped to allay public suspicion of political corruption--as the Supreme Court believed they would in 1976--there's no basis for continuing the limits ["Two-Front Big-Dollar War," op-ed, Oct. 3].
First of all, the court upheld the contribution limits in 1976 not just to allay public suspicion but to prevent actual corruption of our elected officials--a concern that is just as important today as it was in 1976.
Second, however, a principal reason why public suspicion of political corruption hasn't been allayed is the massive evasion of federal contribution limits that has occurred. In the past decade, hundreds of millions of dollars of huge unlimited soft money contributions have been improperly laundered through political parties to support federal candidates.
And who is in the forefront of this soft money funding ruse? Why, none other than the same Mitch McConnell, who, as the Senate Republicans' chief fund-raiser, has raised tens of millions in soft money contributions to help support Senate Republican candidates.
So what we have here is the following: contribution limits enacted to help prevent the appearance of political corruption are evaded and eviscerated by politicians who in turn complain that the contribution limits aren't accomplishing their goal and should be eliminated.
Broder states that McConnell's argument deserves a satisfactory answer. How about this one: Let's keep the contribution limits and enact a soft money ban to stop the evasions that are undermining public trust.
The writer is president
of the nonprofit Democracy 21.