"Nonsense" on Dollars and Cents: The chairman of the Republican National Committee yesterday endorsed a new campaign financing bill that would eliminate what he termed the "nonsensical" limits on what political parties can spend on behalf of candidates.
Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., whose party outraised the Democrats by $214.9 million to $39.1 million in 1981-82, also blasted public financing schemes for congressional elections as a "cancer on the two-party system."
The strongly worded statement to a House Administration task force hearing reintroduces a sharp partisan difference into the debate on campaign finance law changes.
The GOP approach, in identical bills introduced last week by Rep. Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.) and Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.), would raise the limit on contributions from the national parties to candidates from $10,000 to $30,000. It would permit unlimited so-called "coordinated expenditures" that national, state and local parties can make on behalf of House candidates, on which there now is a cap of $39,140. It also would allow national parties to spend unlimited amounts on get-out-the-vote and party-building activities.
The Democrats' preference, introduced by Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), would limit each House candidate to a total of $90,000 from all political action committees and provide matching public funds for candidates who agree to an overall spending lid of $200,000. The bill has 123 co-sponsors, but only eight are Republicans.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Charles T. Manatt gave a qualified endorsement to Obey's proposal.