Just As I Thought

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House Republicans made a last-minute attempt yesterday to pass legislation limiting individual political donations to independent organizations. The move was aimed at hampering Democratic-aligned groups that were powerful in 2004 and could threaten GOP candidates next year.

GOP leaders met privately and sought to attach the campaign finance measure — which had idled in the House for months — to a defense bill ready for final passage.

The effort stalled when Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) refused to sign off on the defense bill as long as it contained the campaign finance measure. Sen. Carl M. Levin of Michigan, the Armed Services Committee’s ranking Democrat, also objected, as did his counterpart in the House, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.). House leaders did not budge, throwing into question the fate of the defense bill, which includes a ban on the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects in U.S. custody and other restrictions on detainee interrogation and prosecution.

“Right now it would be speculation to say what would happen,” House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said when asked about the effort to attach the measure.

Republicans want to bar groups such as MoveOn.org, which attacked President Bush’s reelection drive in 2004, from being able to use unlimited amounts of money to buy advertising that mentions federal candidates.

[From The Washington Post]

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