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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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April 10, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 10, 1997
 

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Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, April 10, 1997 23 Political donors hide behind small contributions By Robert Lowes The leading source of funding for political campaigns last year came from small contributors whose identities are hidden by current state law. That is one of the key findings of a campaign finance report released by the non-partisan Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. The organization, formed in 1995, is a coalition of 31 diverse groups that include labor, environ- mentalist, ethnic minorities, women and trial lawyers. The alliance supports legislation that would lower to $100 the amount of campaign contributions that must be revealed by source. Under current law, contributions of $500 or less don't have to be identified. The legislation also would force political parties and legislative caucuses to reveal the sources of their contributions. We feel that the nondisclosure in Nevada lends itself to Oleast the appearance of wrong doing or corruption," said gaul Brown the alliance's Southern Nevada coordinator. "Anytime you don't have checks and balances on (cam- paign) assets, you're setting your self up for abuse." Using computers, the alliance for example, identified how much money each of Nevada's 63 state law makers received from specific special interest groups, and also ranked how much those sectors gave to individual legisla- tors. The alliance included the 1996 Assembly races and the 1994 and 1996 state Senate contest. Among their findings: On the average, it cost $174,628 to win a seat in the Senate, and $68,100 to win in the Assembly. Brown said the alliance believes one way to reduce the reliance on campaign contributions is to permit only one senator per district. Clark County for example, has five senate districts that elect two senators each. The alliance would like to see those split into 10 districts so candidates don't have to spend as much money to reach their constituents. The Central Senate District, represented by Mike McGinnis R-Fallon, includes Nye, Esmeralda, Mineral, Lincoln, White Pine, Churchill and Lyon Counties. The rural 36th Assembly District, represented by Roy Neighbors, D-Tonopah, includes all of Nye, Esmeralda, Mineral and Lincoln Counties. Individually, the Central Senatorial District and the 36th Assembly District are larger geographically that many east coast congressional districts. Although the alliance would lean heavily toward Demo- crats on issues such as labor and the environment, Brown said campaign finance reform is an area that affects both major parties equally. "Nevada's campaign finance disclo- sure are among the worst in the nation, and that allows special interest to wield overwhelming power in the Legis- lature," added Bob Fulkerson, the alliance's State Director and the former head Citizen Alert. "The time to pass campaign finance reform to put the public interests is long overdue." Veterans Coalition Outlines Ways to Strengthen Services to Veterans WASHINGTON, DCqA coalition of major veterans groups has presented to Congress recommendations that, in enacted, would strengthen programs and services provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The report urges adoption of proposals to bolster health care, disability compensation, and a host of other benefits for the nation's veterans and their families. The recommendations are contained in the 11 n annual Independent Budget for Veterans Programs developed by AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The report pro- vides Congress and the Administration with a veterans' perspective of current and future needs for veterans health care and other programs and services. More than 50 other groups, including nearly every veterans service organization, have endorsed the Independent Budget's guiding principles. The report recommends $43.2 billion in appropriations for the VA in fiscal year 1998. That is a 7 percent increase over the current appropriation. Included is $19.7 billion for com- pensation, pension, and burial benefits. The recommended appropriation for veterans medical care is $19.5 billion. Considering the challenges of working in an austere bud- get environment, the VA's attempts to be cost-effective may in some cases be takin precedence over efforts to provide high-quality care to veterans. The legislative proposals and recommended funding levels in the Independent Budget will enable the VA to continue serving our nation's veterans. The Independent Budget urges continued support for specialized services--the shining jewel of the VA health care system. These include prosthetics, blind rehabilitation, spinal cord injury care, and mental health services, such as post- traumatic stress disorder treatment. As with medical benefits, the Independent Budget calls for strengthening nonmedical benefits and services to veterans and their families, such a compesation for service-connected disabilities and survivors' benefits. Of primary importance is that the VA be given the resources necessary to accomplish its plan for fixing the dysfunctional claims adjudication system. A congressionally chartered veterans service organization i -- - SMART ii00! IPICK A PARTI OPEN SEVEN DAYSAWEEK NYE COqS-FIRST PlCg a PART , :BRINGYOUR OWN TOOLS MUST'BE 18 OR OLDER TO ENTER YARD $1.00 ADMISSION CHARGE 727-1313 8am- Spm BASIN m 1 70 N. IOM THE 3T2/160 STOP LIGitT Take Elwy 160 North to E. Beldll Smartway Tara rtlt om East Bia Tufa Idre. s-m w-y LICENSED It BONDED whose membership dates from World War II, AMVETS has aimed for more than 50 years to promote world peace, preserve the American way of life and help veterans help themselves. The million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non- profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, is dedicated to one, single purpose: build- ing better lives for our nation's disabled veterans and their families. The Paralyzed Veterans of America, a veterans service organization chartered by Congress, has for more than 50 years served the needs of its members, all of whom have catastrophic paralysis caused by spinal cord injury or dis- ease. 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