The Republican National Committee has issued subpoenas to a wide range of Democratic-leaning groups, including the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), the National Education Association, and the feminist group EMILY’S List, as the newest front in the battle to defeat the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. In what NARAL president Kate Michelman describes as “a political strip search” that would provide the Republican Party with sensitive political information, the subpoenas demand the groups turn over detailed financial records, internal communications and strategic political documents. They also ask them to detail whether any of their activities “corrupt or appear to corrupt any federal candidate or federal office holder.”
The RNC filed the lawsuit along with a number of state and local Republican parties shortly after President Bush signed the McCain-Feingold bill in the wake of the Enron scandal in March. The lawsuit claims the new bill violates the equal protection laws of the Constitution. It seeks to prove that the campaign finance law continues to allow special-interest groups to raise “soft money” while forbidding national parties to do so.
Since Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold first introduced the campaign finance reform bill in January 1999, the bill has suffered several defeats in Congress until it was passed this spring. This is the most aggressive step yet taken against the bill hailed by many as the beginning of the reform of the electoral process.
Today we will are joined by three people to talk about the subpoenas and campaign finance reform.
- Kate Michelman, President, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL)
- Larry Noble, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics
- Dan Ronayne, spokesperson, Republican National Committee