BY PAUL BARTON
Enquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Cincinnati-area members will each have their own objectives for the campaign finance debate now scheduled to resume in the House. Of Tristate members, only Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lucasville, originally signed a petition to force new debate on the issue.
But Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Nashville, Ind., changed his mind and added his name to the petition Wednesday.
Mr. Hamilton, who is retiring this year, at first opposed the discharge petition out of respect for the committee process, he said.
"While it is not my practice to sign discharge petitions, I believe so strongly in the need for campaign finance reform that I have decided to make an exception," Mr. Hamilton said.
"There is simply too much money, particularly unregulated and undisclosed money, flowing into federal elections."
A common theme sounded by Cincinnati-area members is the need for stricter disclosure requirements on advertising purchased by labor unions and other interest groups in different television markets that affects races for federal offices, especially Congress. Some area members want to go even further and prevent labor unions from using members' dues money for political purposes without their consent.
"I've heard from a lot of the folks I represent, my constituents, who object to their dues money being used for political purposes," said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati.
Labor unions advertised heavily against Mr. Chabot in his 1996 race.
One of the ideas that Mr. Strickland favors is turning campaign finance reform over to an independent commission similar to the one used for military base closing decisions. Congress would then have to accept or reject its recommendations in total and not dicker over specifics.
Rep. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, has long been an advocate of abolishing political action committee funding in federal races. One of Rep. John Boehner's ideas is to strengthen rules prohibiting contributions from noncitizens.
Mr. Boehner, R-West Chester and the fourth-ranking leader in the House, is also calling for more timely and complete disclosure of contributions.