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Constitutional Amendment May Be Road to Campaign-Finance Reform

A Leading Democrat may be upping the ante on the sensitive issue of campaign-finance reform: He is now talking about a constitutional amendment to reform the process.

Senate minority leader Tom Daschle said yesterday that a change in the Constitution may be the only way to deal with First Amendment objections the courts have raised to limits on political contributions and expenditures.

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"I think a constitutional amendment ultimately is what this country is facing, and I would be prepared to support it in this Congress," Senator Daschle said at a Monitor breakfast. He said, however, that "soft money," or political-party spending used to circumvent campaign-spending limits on individual candidates, could be curtailed by legislation.

Significantly, Daschle also said that a portion of the Social Security trust fund should be privatized - invested in stocks rather than government securities.

"Many people want to see a greater return on the investment [of Social Security funds]. The Social Security trustees have made the recommendation for the first time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Congress would be prepared to support it.... I certainly would, as long as it were constrained and there were some defined maximum that would be invested."