Campaign 2000: Playing Power Politics

The TVA has been an economic engine for Al Gore's home state. It has also been a boon for his friends

When Al Gore floated a bold proposal last week to reform campaign financing--calling for an end to "soft money" contributions and the creation of a $7.1 billion endowment--he admitted that he is an "imperfect messenger for this cause." In his new modesty offensive, Gore was alluding to such well-known blemishes on his record as the 1996 fund raiser he held at a Buddhist temple. But Gore's imperfections may also extend to the more traditional realm of political patronage, particularly through his influence with a powerful institution back home: the Tennessee Valley Authority.

A New Deal project created to tame the Tennessee...

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