The debate on campaign finance reform began anew in the Senate on Monday, with Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) planning to reintroduce an amendment that would ban all radio and TV issue ads paid for by corporations or unions within one month of primary elections and two months of general elections.
It also would require groups to disclose who is paying for broadcast issue ads. Snowe discussed the bill on the Senate floor on Monday, but debate rules have prevented her from introducing it yet. Snowe and Jeffords introduced the amendment last year as well, but it failed to move in the Senate along with the rest of the package. Other broadcast-related amendments are anticipated to pop up in the next two weeks, with Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) and Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) expected to introduce amendments that would require broadcasters to offer ad time to politicians at free or reduced rates without the option of preempting them to run higher-priced ads.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chief co-sponsor of the campaign finance reform package the Senate is considering, has said he wants to keep the bill free of any controversial language, such as free airtime, so as not to ruin the bill's chances of Senate passage. McCain placed those chances at 60%, during a press event at Republican party headquarters on Monday.
- Paige Albiniak