Now, all that is up in the air. Already, big-time spending by the Republican party and the caucuses is given credit for giving the GOP 13 new House seats in 1994. Republicans consider next year their chance of a lifetime to capture a majority, perhaps in both houses. DFLers, for their part, will fight tooth-and-nail for their already tenuous hold on power.

And it turns out that, when you look closely at the laws, there's really no limit on what parties can do--as long as it benefits three or more candidates. Any fewer, and the activity will be counted against their individual spending limits, which defeats the purpose. Three, as it happens, is the number of legislative seats in each Senate district, the parties' "basic political organizing unit:" One candidate for Senate, two for the House. Voila.

So, says David Hoium, forget about getting money out of politics: Bloomington was just the beginning. "You'll see a great deal of this in '96. And on both sides--heck, the Democrats wrote the law. This is going to be standard procedure."

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