The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 20, 2003, Image 14

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CHILDS, M.D. (979) 696-4.4-4-4 1605 Rock Prairie Ad Suite 312 College Station, TX 6B NAT® Thursday, November 20, 2003 THE BATTALIOS Presidential hopefuls’ decline publii financing, give rivals short-term boost By Sharon Theimer THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Fund-rais ing front-runners President Bush, Howard Dean and John Kerry are giving the rest of the presidential candidates a short-term boost in the wallet by skipping taxpayer financing next year. Because the three are turning away the assistance from tax payers who check a box on their returns, the eight candidates still participating in the program are expected to get substantially more federal money at the start of the primary season. The Federal Election Commission initially estimated candidates would only get 40 cents to 50 cents of every dollar they were entitled to when the first checks are sent in January. But Bush. Dean and Kerry are saving the program millions with their decision, meaning the rest of the candidates could get roughly 75 cents to 80 cents on the dollar, based on an Associated Press analysis of FEC and campaign estimates. “By opting out of the system. Dean and Kerry and Bush before them have actually helped the candidates who stay in the system by reducing the shortfall,” said Larry Noble, a former FEC attorney who heads the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Under a program set up after Watergate to reduce the influ ence of big money in presiden tial elections, the government matches up to $250 of every pri vate donation qualified candi dates collect for their primary campaigns. The maximum assistance any candidate can receive is $18.7 million. About one in 11 taxpayers checks the box sending $3 in federal money — it does not cost taxpayers anything from their refunds — to the presiden tial matching fund. The program frequently runs short on cash. Candidates typically make up the “matching fund” shortfalls with loans while waiting for the fund to be replenished. That costs the campaign extra in interest payments. In the 2000 primaries, candi dates received about 50 cents of every dollar they were entitled to in January, compared to about 60 cents on the dollar in 1996. Dean’s departure alone had a major impact. The former Vermont governor, who has done particularly well drawing small-dollar donors, would have been entitled to at least $15 mil lion from the program had he stayed in, the FEC estimates. Wesley Clark is expected to get one of the biggest initial payments — roughly $5.5 mil lion if matchable donations continue coming in at the pace they have been. The Clark campaign estimates he will have raised about $15.5 mil lion by year’s end, roughly 44 percent of it matchable. According to rough estimates from other campaigns, Dick Gephardt will get about $5 mil lion from the fund in January; Joe Lieberman, around $4 mil lion; Dennis Kucinich roughly $3.3 million; and Lyndon LaRouche, up to $850,000. A1 Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun are expected to When candidates decline, otheisbert When John Kerry and Howard Dean chose not to take public campaign funds, it benefited the rest of the candidates The Fete Election Commission initially estimated each candidate wouldge: 40 cents to 50 cents for every dollar earned. Now they will gel about 75 cents to 80 cents on every dollar. Estimated public to candidates CANDIDATE Wesley Clark Dick Gephardt Joe Lieberman funds available FUNDS $5.5 million $5.0 million $4.0 million The system is financed by taxpayers wtwcW this box on their tax returns. It directs S3 ol their paid taxes to the fund. Only one in 11 lien do so. Dennis Kucinich $3.3 million John Edwards Up to $4 million Lyndon LaRouche $850,000 Carol Moseley Braun $100,000 Al Sharpton $100,000 r SOURCES: Federal Election Commission: Internal Revenue Service ft get a few hundred thousand dol lars from the fund initially if they take part, the FEC estimates. John Edwards’ campaign declined to provide an estimate. The FEC projects that based on his fund raising through September, the period covered by the latest campaign finance reports, the North Carolina sena tor will be eligible for at least $3.2 million. If Edwards accumulates matchable donations at the same pace this quarter as he has previ ously, he would get a first pay ment in the $4 million range. Together, it appears the can didates will initially be eligible for roughly $23 million in matching funds. The FEC esti mates the fund will have about $18.2 million to give out in January; a February shortfall also expected, as the prtp waits for tax returns to replec the fund. Noble said that while big initial payouts are a pits Democrats taking the pull; money would probably pttfs taking out larger loans tote primary rivals operating ota I the system. That’s because Dean, to and Bush aren’t bound by It system's state-by-state spend; caps or its overall $45 rail: spending limit. Campaign watchdog gras; have urged them to abide by tlf program’s limits anyway;on| Kerry plans to do so, and oil; by the overall limit. Teacher suspended for experiment that caused five students to vomit By Aaron Beard THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SMITHFIELD, N.C. —A high school teacher was suspended for a classroom experiment that caused several students to vomit after drinking large amounts of milk. Jeff Ferguson, a chemistry and physics teacher at Smithfield- Selma High School, organized the experiment last week to test the body’s ability to neutralize acids in milk. It was intended to show the body can handle only so much before a natural reaction occurs and the person vomits. Out of 42 students in two classes, at least five did just that. On Wednesday, Ferguson failed to persuade a judge to let him return to the classroom. He wanted a temporary restraining order so that he could return to help his students prepare for end-of-semester exams, but Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins denied his request. “It’s been rather unpleasant sitting at home and knowing nobody is teaching my class as effectively as I can,” Ferguson said after the hearing. “There’s not a lot positive about this situation.” The teacher’s attorney, Lamar Armstrong, said students were not required to participate in the experiment, and students had recepta cles in case they became ill. “If anybody wanted to quit at any time, they could have,” Armstrong said. Parents alerted school administrators about the incident last Wednesday. Ferguson was sent home the next day and was sus pended with pay Tuesday, pending an investigation by a law firm hired by the school district. NEWS IN BRIEF Senate fight over polluting gasoline additive may snag energy bill WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is one vote away from sending a massive ener gy bill to the White House, but it could still hit a snag in the Senate over a dispute involving a gasoline additive that has contaminated drinking water in several dozen states. The energy legislation won solid backing from Republicans as well as a surprising number of Democrats on Tuesday at it whizzed through the House by a 246-180 margin, leaving it up to the Senate to take up the bill later this week. The measure, covering some 1,100 pages, would provide $23 billion in tax incentives and other measures to produce more coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power and double the need for corn-based ethanol, a bonanza for the Farm Belt states. The boost in ethanol produc tion to 5 billion gallons a year has broad Republican and Democratic support and is viewed as a key to getting the bill passed. Some Senate Democrats ail counting votes to see if M : ; might be able to derail thelejfl lation by a filibuster. They« stripped from the bill a provis:'l that protects makers of MM from product liability lavffl arising from the gasolineadm fouling drinking water. Federal officials arrest foreign currency traders NEW YORK (AP)-Several dozen Wall Street traders siiij pected of foreign currercj exchange crimes have beej arrested in a crackdown or (| largely unregulated financial market, sources said. U.S. Attorney James B.Coiik was expected on Wednesday!: announce the charges agae : the traders, who were arrests: beginning Tuesday. Citing people familiar wilti tsj case, The Wall Street Jouri'ii reported Wednesday that tradsT at more than a dozen firms#1 to be charged with conspirao wire fraud, money launderirt- and securities fraud. In one alleged case, employesj at J.P. 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