Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Senate Passes Amendment to Boost Millionaires to the Level of Billionaires

March 21, 2001

The Senate continued its debate on campaign finance reform yesterday, and passed the first amendment to thelegislation in question, the McCain-Feingold bill.

Supporters claimed that the amendment, approved by 70 to 30, would protect candidates from being swamped by evenwealthier candidates who finance their own campaigns. Instead of placing limits on the amount these super-richcandidates can spend, however, the amendment would lift the contribution limits for their opponents. The current$1,000 limit on contributions from individuals would be raised in two steps to $3,000 and then to $6,000.

Senator Mike DeWine, a Republican from Ohio who helped negotiate the amendment, said: "We’re going to level theplaying field . . . we’re going to say this is not a system that is open to the highest bidder." He added that thecurrent situation is "ludicrous," because it limits everyone to contributions of $1,000 except a rich candidate, who,under Supreme Court rulings, can put unlimited amounts of personal cash into the campaign.

But, even as many Democrats were voting for the proposal, Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) and several otherDemocratic leaders protested that higher contribution limits would increase the influence of big givers, and flew inthe face of the McCain-Feingold bill. The original bill would ban unlimited "soft money" contributions to politicalparties and crack down on issue ads by independent groups that target candidates just before an election.


  • Susan Anderson, Washington Director of Public Campaign and co-author of "The Color of Money" study.
  • Stephanie Wilson, Executive Director of the Fannie Lou Hamer Project.

Related links:

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.