Journal Star

March 29, 2001


Durbin wavering on campaign reform

Copley News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Common Cause is putting heat on Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who is wavering on an issue the consumer watchdog group says is key to campaign finance reform efforts.

Durbin, a longtime supporter of such reform, said he is undecided on how he will vote on the rather arcane legal issue known as ''severability.''

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., sponsors of the campaign finance reform bill pending before the Senate, say it is critical that the measure includes ''severability.'' That would ensure that if one part of the law were struck down as unconstitutional, the rest of the legislation would stay in force.

Republicans, including opponents of the McCain-Feingold bill, are expected to offer an amendment that would make the bill's provisions
''non-severable,'' which could sink the measure even if it becomes law.

In addition to banning unregulated ''soft money,'' the bill would increase restrictions on the type of campaign advertising called ''issue ads.''