Campaign Report: FEC seeks to halt foreign campaign contributions

By Globe Staff and Wire Reports, 3/15/2000

ASHINGTON - The Federal Election Commission is urging Congress to pass a law saying foreigners cannot give any money to federal campaigns - a subject at the heart of the scandals involving President Clinton's 1996 re-election effort. Commissioners want Congress to enact such a measure during its current session, saying it is one of the FEC's top legislative priorities. An existing law specifically bans foreign contributions to candidates and the FEC has ruled that the statute also applies to unregulated soft money given to political parties. The commission, citing court cases that ruled otherwise, has recommended in the past that Congress pass a new law, but this is the first year that the FEC has made it a priority. Most of the foreign donations to the 1996 Democratic presidential campaign were soft-money contributions. The party refunded around $3 million in questionable donations. (AP)

Gore says he won't divest

oil-drilling company stock

CARTHAGE, Tenn. - Vice President Al Gore defended his family's ownership of stock in an oil company that plans to drill on land near a Colombian Indian reserve, saying yesterday ''there certainly is not'' anything wrong with the arrangement. Protesters with Amazon Watch and other groups have urged Gore to divest his family of the stock, worth as much as $500,000, which was among Gore's father's assets when he died last December. ''According to his will, that was put into a trust fund to benefit my mother for the remainder of her life and I was named executor of his will,'' Gore told Tennessee reporters. He was asked about the subject after voting at an elementary school near his farm. (AP)

PAC to run ads attacking

Hillary Clinton Senate bid

ALBANY, N.Y. - A political action committee controlled by a conservative activist from Utah is about to launch television ads in New York attacking Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. The weekly New York Observer, in editions set to hit the streets today, said the TV ads will run in upstate New York and are being financed by Ruffpac, the committee controlled by Howard Ruff, a Utah-based ''free enterprise'' investment guru who has previously helped finance conservative political causes. One of the ads features a shot of babies and puppies in New York's Central Park with a Hillary Clinton-like figure glowering down at them. ''What do these babies and puppies have in common?'' the ad asks. ''They have all lived in New York longer than Hillary Rodham Clinton.'' Neither Ruff nor Ruffpac officials could be reached immediately for comment yesterday. (AP)

Ventura says McCain has

no third-party aspirations

ST. PAUL - Governor Jesse Ventura said yesterday he is not trying to persuade Senator John McCain to run for president as an independent, although it would make the race more interesting. Ventura said he spoke to McCain by phone more than a week ago - before McCain lost most of the Super Tuesday primaries to George W. Bush, and before the Arizona senator suspended his campaign. Ventura said McCain told him he had no plans to leave the Republican party to run for president as a third-party candidate and McCain also publicly said he did not want to bolt the GOP. If McCain did run as a third-party candidate, Ventura said, ''He'd make it interesting.'' McCain spokesman Dan McLagan said the Arizona senator is on vacation all week and ''there are no current plans for meeting with the governor.'' (AP)