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1V; gior Inn 44 00111.W.A% 11 Sea Horse 1423 11th Street”, l ik Port Aransas, TX 78373 1 S ca” i finRi-scrui t ions ,,,,,, oreF smilms ik A ON, 10144’36 Wo 1r 1………. a, I0/1 Mustang i5hm\(1 IL A\\ ik2 ‘ r aw Unique Vuropean Churn, S, d % Nconoinical Sp illi. . ;Hid Sumnicr 0.;itc ,.. t I, f Pets Welcome of ar te rt Kitchenettes -Cable TV Heated Pool bc.side the Gulf Qfillexico a t , Specter swallowed $844,000 from the finance lobbies doing business before this committee; liberal Democrat Chris Dodd was fed $967,000 by them; and conservative Republican Alfonse D’Amato scurried off with $1,143,000. Indeed, Sen. D’Amato was especially adept at a form of feeding frenzy called “bundling.” You see, a corporation’s political action committee can give $5,000 to a lawmaker. But by getting the firm’s top executives to bundle up “individual” donations of, say, $1,000 each, a much larger wad can be fed to a grateful senator. Imagine Sen. D’ Amato’ s gratitude, then, when Wall Street firms fed him such generous bundles in ’92 as: $23,000 from Smith Barney; $24,000 from Merrill Lynch; $28,000 from Morgan Stanley; $32,000 from Goldman Sachs; and $62,000 from Bear Stearns, for a grand tally of $169,000. This is why Congress serves the special interests instead of your interests, and it’s why we’ve got to eliminate big-money giving in politics. To get a two-page summary of who’s feeding your lawmakersand to learn what you can do to stop itcall the Center for Responsive Politics: 202-857-0044. Send a Friend the Texas Observer Contact Stefan Wanstrom at 477-0746, or write 307 West 7th St., Austin, TX 78701. Congress Due a Bashing Congress seems intent on providing an uncivics lesson just before its members adjourn to go home and ask for re-election. Perusal of the papers in recent days provides a wealth of fodder for those who want to know why the system doesn’t work. While the radio talk shows are busy bashing President Clinton for everything from talking about his boxer shorts to bad weather, the real reason for the paralysis of government is evident at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And for those who think our problem is that the government does too much and needs to quit interfering with the wonders of unfettered capitalism, try this news report: “Congress today abandoned efforts to rewrite a mining law that dates back to the 19th century, giving up in the face of resistance by the mining industry to paying taxes on metals it takes from public lands… the failure to change this law this .year was a major defeat for the Clinton administration…. It is a pattern that is becoming familiar in this Congress, in which a combination of partisan maneuvering and parochial interests have stalled such action.” Let’s try this again. Miners working on public landsthis land belongs to you and meare paying nothing in mineral rights. If these mines were on private property, of course, the companies would have to pay royalties. But we, the people, get nothing for our mineralsthe mining companies take out millions in silver and other metalswhile we have to pay more in taxes for public purposes so that these few can get rich at our expense. Senators from the Western states join the Republicans, who are determined to ruin Clinton, in protecting the mining interests, which in turn give large campaign contributions to those senators. Then the Republicans turn around and go home and ask for your vote on account of the government can’t do anything right. Rep. Michael Oxley, an Ohio Republican, provided a litany of issues that Congress has failed to act on this session: “Health care, Superfund, GATT, A-to-Z spending cuts, clean water, immigration reform, welfare reform, telecommunications, campaign finance reform, etc., etc.” Molly Ivins, a former Observer editor, is a columnist with the Fort Worth StarTelegram. In some cases, all it takes is one senatorfor example Fritz Hollings determined to protect textile manufacturers in South Carolinato kill GATT, which has overwhelming support. Even something as self-evident as a ban on gifts and trips from lobbyists barely survived a vote in the House and will probably die in the Senate. Of far greater importance is the campaign-finance bill, against which Republicans have already started a preemptive filibuster. Changing the way campaigns are financed is the single most critical reform needed in government; nothing surpasses it in importance because nothing else can get done without it. House and Senate Democrats now have a deal that would offer candidates for the House vouchers to buy media and mail. This weakens the hold of special-interest money on candidates and gives challengers a much better chance to compete against incumbents. Senate candidates who agree to spending limits get a 50-percent discount on television time, again making them less dependent on special interests and making the races fairer. In presidential campaigns, the notorious growth of “soft money” funnelled to “unaffiliated” groups supporting one candidate or another would be closed off, curing the problem of huge contributions to the political parties. Now, all this is well and good, except that George Mitchell, the Senate majority leader, needs 60 votes to stop the Republican filibuster. If you’d like to run a check on the hypocrisy quotient of your very own Republican senator, check to see how he or she voted on campaign finance reform when George Bush was there to safely veto it. Standin’ around cussin’ Congress has got to be such a national pastime that my contrarian impulses are almost called into action. But not quite. Congress is a mess; there’s just no way around it. Republicans declare that its because the place is run by Democrats since the year Aught, but their pattern is to cockroach every measure that might help fix the mess, just kill it any way they canand both House and Senate rules offer an infinite number of ways to kill billsand then come home and whine that nothing works because it’s done by Democrats. It’s a revoltin’ development, all right. And here’s Clinton, who sure didn’t deal this deck of cards, trying to play through it and getting blamed for the whole set-up. It’s the autumn of our discontent… MOLLY IVINS 16 OCTOBER 14, 1994