Looking for the Loopholes

Twenty-eight years after the last campaign-finance reforms, new rules look set to take effect. Will they be tough enough to clean up the game?

Like the hero of a paperback thriller, campaign-finance reform keeps dodging bullets. Legislation meant to clean up the political-money game was almost left for dead last summer, but the Enron scandal revived it again. And last Wednesday evening the bill survived yet another near-death experience, when its backers in the House went head-to-head with one of their most powerful opponents, the National Rifle Association. Republicans, led by Tom DeLay, the majority whip from Sugar Land, Texas, offered a clever "poison pill" amendment that would have exempted gun-rights groups from the bill's limits on paid issues advertising. If the amendment passed, it...

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