Friday, August 04, 2006

Money Trumps Ethics For Most Legislators

Fewer than half the legislative candidates running in the November elections responded to a six-question survey on campaign finance and government ethics reform conducted by WDC, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.

And the real reason for many of them is not too hard to figure out. A review of the latest campaign finance reports they filed found that many of the legislative candidates who refused to answer the survey raised a lot of money from influential special interests.

Nineteen of 25 incumbent legislators who raised the most campaign contributions between January and June 2006 refused to answer the survey, and another incumbent definitively answered only two of the six questions.

You would think the corruption convictions of five of their former colleagues and an aide in the last nine months would move legislators toward reform out of political necessity. But most of the 81 incumbent legislators who refused to publicly stake out a position on ethics were the same ones who refused to even vote on campaign finance and ethics bills during the past legislative session.

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