A Promise Unfulfilled

It was three years ago last week that the President and the Republican Speaker shook hands and promised to do something about all the money flooding our elections.

So how's the effort going?

"On campaign finance reform, I fully expect us to be completed sometime in July," says Gingrich.

Translation: nothing has been done.

Reform has been blocked at every turn. Even though debate on new legislation to overhaul the system began today, don't hold your breath.

Opponents have already drawn up 283 amendments to water it down.

The amendments, say David Bonior [D-Mich.], the House's Democratic whip, "are the legislative equivalent of a ball and chain."

To understand why nothing ever gets done on this, you have to leave the Capitol and take a late evening stroll through Washington when the politicians hit the streets and really get to work.

The President did one night this week.

He picked up a half million dollars for his party when he dropped in for dinner at a Georgetown home.

When he drove on to a nightclub, he picked up a half million more.

But raising a million dollars in a couple of hours on today's mashed potato circuit is small potatoes.

That same night, Republicans gathered for a vast Washington dinner with a guest list that read like a who's who of Corporate America. They raised an astonishing $10 million.

And that's the answer.

The politicans claim they need the money to get elected, and when they can talk people into giving as much as this crowd gave, why would they want to change the rules to stop them?

Reported by Bob Schieffer
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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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