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  2 What do you make of the phenomenon of outside interest groups this year putting on ads to influence elections?  

In the Santa Barbara special Congressional election this year to fill Walter Capps' seat, both candidates were exorcised by the fact that outside groups came in and dumped a lot of money in these so-called independent expenditure ads, which are in all but name political commercials and therefore kind of took the campaign away.

You're in this bizarre situation where thanks to a series of court rulings, you can limit what a candidate raises, but interest groups are absolutely unlimited--it's considered a first amendment right. So, a candidate can maybe raise a million dollars, let's say, to say what he or she wants to say. Then you're going to find that the National Widget Association or Citizens for a Cleaner Environment or whoever it is are going to spend whatever they want on that race and in effect, take it over.

I don't, by the way, think there's any solution to this as long as the court ruling stands because I don't know how you can legislate it.
  Jeff Greenfield
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