Airtime-Free Reform


As promised, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) reintroduced their campaign finance reform package on Jan. 22, the first day Congress was back in session for legislative business. The package makes no mention of any free airtime requirements for broadcasters, which had been a campaign plank for the Democrats. In fact, the bill's only media-related provision is one that restricts corporate and union spending on issue advertisements that mask support for specific candidates. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who is back after 17 days of Democratic leadership while the administration changed hands, has said he'll allow the Senate to debate and vote on campaign finance reform. That's a switch from past years, when he and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have gone to great lengths to stop the bill.