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Hard on 'Soft Money'

As campaign finance reform slogs its way through Congress, consider this:

Business executives who participate in the current system (and, presumably, benefit from it) are anything but enamored of it. A recent poll for Business Week found that 68 percent of 400 executives surveyed thought the campaign finance system "broken and in need of fundamental reform."

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The same percentage thought that unlimited "soft money" contributions, which go to a party but help promote candidates, ought to be abolished.

That, in fact, is a major thrust of current reform legislation. "Soft money" fueled the fund-raising controversy that now engulfs the Clinton administration. Yet some in Congress defend it as means of political speech.

The executives who expressed their views in the poll apparently don't see it that way. The chief defenders of the campaign finance status quo, it seems, work inside the beltway.

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