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Archive for Thursday, September 3, 1998

CRIME, CAMPAIGN FINANCE FUEL DEBATE

September 3, 1998

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Two candidates running in the congressional district that includes Lawrence sparred for the benefit of Johnson County attorneys.

Congressional nominees Dennis Moore and Vince Snowbarger took turns Wednesday hurling invectives at each other in an attempt to sway 250 lawyers gathered for a monthly meeting at a posh hotel.

U.S. Rep. Snowbarger, a Republican seeking a second term in the district that includes Lawrence, said Moore sent an odd message to voters by representing clients charged with serious crimes and by opposing proposals to allow law-abiding civilians to protect themselves with a concealed firearm.

``Dennis does support carrying concealed weapons -- by his clients,'' said Snowbarger, a remark met with groans and hissing by folks gathered at the Doubletree Hotel.

``It's difficult to know which Dennis Moore is standing before you,'' Snowbarger said.

Moore, the Democratic nominee and a former county prosecutor, told members of the Johnson County Bar Assn., that concealed-weapon legislation was ``a recipe for disaster'' and that all people deserved competent legal representation.

``I believe in our system,'' said Moore, who added that Snowbarger's use of brochures to label him a defender of rapists was an unfair characterization.

``I sent three mailers. They're all true,'' Snowbarger said.

In response to a question about campaign finance, Moore accused Triad Management Services, a Virginia outfit run by former aides to Oliver North, of buying Snowbarger a seat in the House by spending $287,500 on an advertising blitz at the end of Snowbarger's successful 1996 campaign.

``You can buy a seat in Congress -- proof positive,'' Moore said. ``We need to eliminate soft money.''

Snowbarger said he wouldn't support legislation to cut off soft money -- large donations often exceeding six-figures that are unregulated and unlimited -- from Triad-styled outfits until Democrats agreed to prohibit widespread use of union dues in political campaigns.

Moore closed the joint campaign appearance by saying the stage design -- moderator at left, Moore in the middle and Snowbarger at right -- was reflective of the political slant of their closely watched race.

``I'm in the center and Vince is on the right,'' Moore said. ``I want the 70 percent in the middle ... and I'm less concerned with the 15 percent on each end.''

Snowbarger said conservative Republicans working the past several years in Washington, D.C., ought to be commended rather than ridiculed for reversing 40 years of budget abuses by Democrats.

-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155. His e-mail address is tcarpenter@ljworld.com.

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