Campaign contributions live in a rather murky world. Although the law is explicit, the interpretation of it, and even a contradictory element from statute to statute, often leads to head-scratching and puzzled looks among political novices and most of the American public. However, in the hands of the political savvy and our two major political parties, campaign finance confusion is the best way they have of insuring that substantial amounts of cash keep flowing into their war chests.
Quite simply, both Republicans and Democrats alike benefit from the obscene amounts of money that are flooding the American political process. And business, even Mississippi business, has benefited from this smoke-and-mirrors situation.
However, the recent recommendation from a Justice Department official to Attorney General Janet Reno that an independent investigator be appointed to scrutinize Al Gore’s role in Democratic fund raising, specifically his role in the 1996 Clinton reelection campaign and the Buddhist temple “incident,” must be taken seriously — partisan politics aside. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that little will be done by this Justice Department leadership, which has spent more time covering the political backsides of the Clinton administration than doing any real work.
Al Gore has been dogged by accusations of fund-raising illegalities for years. Cries of “attack politics” are not an adequate defense for the Vice President, as he campaigns for the presidency. Gore should have done more to resolve this issue when it first appeared.
Serious questions about Gore’s trustworthiness, from his waffling on policy issues to his fund-raising activity, will remain a central part of campaign 2000 and Al Gore has no one to blame but himself.
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