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OFFICIAL: FEC RARELY STUCK ON PARTY LINES To the editor: Adam H. Morse’s review of the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont[" Still Awash in Cash," June 23, 2003, Page 58] is full of platitudes about the evils of corporate money in politics, platitudes that are readily debunked by the simple observation that states which place few or no limits on corporate contributions, such as Virginia and New Mexico, seem not to be noticeably more “corrupt” or poorly governed than those that ban or sharply limit corporate contributions, such as Maryland and Arizona. Had the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals, nonprofit advocacy groups such as Beaumontplaintiff North Carolina Right to Life would have been able to contribute up to $5,000 to a federal candidate. Whether a $5,000 contribution from an ideological group such as NCRTL to Elizabeth Dole’s Senate campaign would, as Morse suggests, “undermine the bedrock values of democracy,” is, I suppose, a question on which reasonable people can disagree. I am of the opinion that the political participation of grass-roots membership organizations such as NCRTL and its pro-choice counterparts is a sign of a healthy democracy. I write, however, to correct certain factual errors in Mr. Morse’s polemic. Morse, a lawyer at the Brennan Center, states that, “the FEC commissioners split 3-3 — along party lines — on whether to appeal.” This is not true. In fact, just two commissioners voted to appeal the Court of Appeals decision in Beaumont.Three commissioners voted against an appeal, and a fourth, who in fact also opposed an appeal in the case, did not vote. Additionally, Morse claims that, “commissioners frequently deadlock in party line votes.” The Brennan Center, which supports doing away with the bipartisan makeup of the FEC, has been active in spreading the claim about the commission’s alleged “partisan gridlock.” Now, it is true that the commission is structured to guarantee that any enforcement action has bipartisan support. This prevents either party from dominating the commission and using it for partisan advantage in elections. But, in fact, the commission “deadlocks” on substantive matters less than three percent of the time, and even more rarely “deadlocks” along party lines. All this information has been reported in the press and is available from the commission itself. The Brennan Center needs to quit playing fast and loose with facts as it pursues its political goals. Bradley A. Smith Vice Chairman Federal Election Commission Washington, D.C. MEDIA VOICES RESTRAINED BY DUOPOLIES, TOO To the editor: This is in reference to Patrick Mullen’s June 16 letter [" Media Executive Clears the Air," Page 77] concerning our article about changes in the FCC’s media ownership regulations ["No Talk of the Town," June 2, 2003, Page 51]. Mr. Mullen claims that our statement that “Mullen admits that his company likes monopolies” is “flatly wrong.” To quote Mr. Mullen’s own words, reported in Broadcasting and Cableon May 12, “We like newspaper/TV combinations, and we like duopolies.” True, there is a technical difference between duopolies and monopolies. However, both serve as major ways to restrain free competition, both typically constitute violations of antitrust laws, and both are regarded by economists and legislatures alike as monopolistic. In short, to argue that our statement is “flatly wrong” is like saying that a report that a killer used a hammer is flatly wrong because he used a mallet. Amitai Etzioni University Professor George Washington University Elizabeth Tulis Research Assistant GWU Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies Washington, D.C. SG BRIEF IN PESTICIDE CASE RESTORES TRADITIONAL U.S. VIEW To the editor: I am writing to set the record straight regarding certain statements contained in the article entitled ” Does U.S. Trump States in Pesticide Cases?” which appeared on June 23, 2003 ["Conference Call," Page 11]. First, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act provides an important but only limited defense in certain types of pesticide-related product liability suits. The pre-emption defense is limited to specific claims, which directly or indirectly implicate the adequacy or accuracy of a pesticide’s federally approved product labeling. Contrary to Douglas Kendall’s assertion quoted in the article, FIFRA does not categorically preclude “those injured by pesticides to be able to sue in state court.” Because allowing juries to impose damage awards against pesticide manufacturers for alleged inadequate labeling could have adverse consequences for the agricultural economy, even the largest organization of farmers supports a limited FIFRA pre-emption defense. The other misperception in the article is the assertion that the solicitor general’s office changed the position of the United States as a result of the election two years ago. Every federal circuit court that has opined on FIFRA tort pre-emption during the past 12 years, and numerous state supreme courts, have agreed that FIFRA pre-empts failure to warn and other labeling related claims against pesticide manufacturers. The politicization of this subject occurred in 1999, when the Clinton administration, in spite of the overwhelming case law, categorically opposed FIFRA pre-emption in its amicus brief filed with the California Supreme Court in Etcheverry v. Tri-Ag Service Inc. Freedom of Information Act requests of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel from that period reveal extensive pressure from certain environmental activists and the plaintiff’s trial bar to convince the agency to oppose pre-emption. The solicitor general’s brief to the Supreme Court in the Geyecase merely returns the government to its traditional position of supporting federal pre-emption where, as here, state law, including state tort law, conflicts with federal law. What is “puzzling” is why there was no press scrutiny of the aberrant position by the previous administration. Douglas T. Nelson Senior Vice President and General Counsel CropLife America Washington, D.C.

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