Notes: It's a chicken-and-egg question: Which came first, corrupt politicians or corrupt contributors? Since politics is about the distribution of power and wealth, money will always play a role. However, the hundred of millions of dollars raised by both political parties in recent years makes it impossible to ignore that when a contributor gives something, the contributor expects something in return.

On Monday, debate begins on the McCain-Feingold soft-money ban. Senator Chuck Hagel has introduced his own bill which, depending on your outlook, is less restrictive or simply institutionalizes soft money. President George W. Bush has issued a set of principles which he wants to influence any changes and which are not friendly to true campaign finance reform. The New York Times opined that his strategy may be to position Hagel's bill as a compromise.

It's rumored that there's still tension from the campaign between Bush and the independent-minded McCain. The chemistry could be interesting to watch. 03.18.01