- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 1, 2001

Sen. John McCain is lobbying for support of his campaign-finance plan by 16 Republican freshmen in the House whose seats he helped win, but his pressure tactics appear to be backfiring.
Only two of the Republican freshmen have signed up for the House version of the Arizona Republican's reform measure.
The other 14 have sided with Republican leaders on an opposing bill.
"This is not 'The Sopranos,' this is Congress," one House Republican leadership aide said, referring to the popular HBO series about a fictional New Jersey mobster.
"It's having the polar opposite effect of what he wants, and members are ticked off by his tactics," the aide said.
Another Republican aide said Mr. McCain is acting like a "schoolyard bully."
Mr. McCain sent form letters to the 16 House freshmen suggesting that while campaigning they supported the McCain-Feingold bill banning "soft money," or unrestricted donations to political parties.
A spokeswoman for one, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, said campaign-finance reform never was a topic of discussion at a campaign event attended by Mr. McCain and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.
"Mr. McCain came to the district late in the campaign for one event with veterans and talked about veterans issues," spokeswoman Sylvia Warner said. "There was no quid pro quo to it at all. That was never even an issue."
Republicans say pressure tactics won't work in the House, where the balance of power is slender and coalitions and consensus are required to move legislation.
Mr. McCain's letters to the 16 Republican freshmen are virtually identical except for the date and recipient's name.
In the letter sent to Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio, Mr. McCain recalled a campaign event and their "personal conversations about our shared passion for reform."
"We both promised to lead the fight to make meaningful campaign finance reform law," Mr. McCain said in the letter, dated June 20. "I urge you to keep up that commitment to reform in the coming weeks, as we will finally have the opportunity to see campaign finance reform become a reality."
Mr. Tiberi politely disagreed with Mr. McCain in a written response the same day.
"I enjoyed our discussions on campaign finance reform. I also appreciated your willingness to support me even though our views on campaign reform differ," Mr. Tiberi wrote.
"I do share your commitment to reform. However, I am convinced that the best way to achieve these goals is to require swift, full, and public disclosure of all campaign contributions and expenses," Mr. Tiberi said.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey called the McCain letters inappropriate.
"If somebody came up to me and said, 'I campaigned for your election and therefore you owe me this vote on this thing,' I would personally say get out of here," the Texas Republican said.
The freshmen Republicans who support the McCain plan are Rep. Rob Simmons of Connecticut and Rep. Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois.
Besides Mr. Rogers and Mr. Tiberi, the others for whom Mr. McCain campaigned include Ric Keller of Florida, Adam H. Putnam of Florida, Mike Pence of Indiana, Mark R. Kennedy of Minnesota, Sam Graves of Missouri, Dennis R. Rehberg of Montana, Mike Ferguson of New Jersey, Felix J. Grucci Jr. of New York, Melissa A. Hart of Pennsylvania, Henry E. Brown Jr. of South Carolina, Edward L. Schrock of Virginia and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
The House Administration Committee on Thursday passed two competing campaign-finance reform bills, which the House is expected to consider after the July 4 recess.
Rep. Martin T. Meehan, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, are sponsoring a companion measure to the Senate's McCain-Feingold bill.
Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican, is sponsoring the leadership-backed bill.
Rather than ban soft money, the Ney measure limits contributions to national parties to $75,000 and restricts how the money can be spent.

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