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Spending Limit Not Free Speech Issue

The pair of Washington veterans President Clinton appointed to press for changes in campaign laws say Congress shouldn’t use claims of free speech problems as an excuse to reject limits on political spending.

“I think there is room for decent restraint, voluntary restraint,” former Vice President Walter Mondale said in a Sunday appearance with ex-Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The two were named last week to lead Clinton’s effort to press Congress for campaign-finance reform this year.

Both said Sunday they support a bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., despite complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union and lobbying groups at both ends of the political spectrum that it would hamper free expression.

The McCain-Feingold proposal would ban huge, unregulated “soft money” contributions from labor unions, corporations or wealthy individuals. Under current rules, such contributions go to political parties to indirectly support candidates with television ads, mailings, phone banks and other activities.


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