The charges stem from that re-election campaign, reported to be the most expensive in state history. Lankson, a toy-manufacturing magnate who spent over $20 million of his own money in the race, challenged Halfin to run a campaign "without special-interest money." Halfin, in response, agreed not to accept money from PACs.
However, since the campaign, charges of bribery and influence-peddling have dogged the Senator. Halfin, who is known in Washington as a defender of environmental protection and international children's rights, has recently shifted positions on each of these issues; and the latest revelations suggest that the automobile and clothing industries have pressured her to make the changes in exchange for promised support in her next re-election bid.
Furthermore, asked about accepting soft money, she said: "I continue to support legislation to restrict or outlaw soft money. But for now, no candidate can afford to reject soft money unless she's a multi-millionaire. Until the law is changed, I have no choice but to accept soft money contributions."
The dispute arose after the EPA fined Chemco $400,000 for releasing too many ozone-depleting chemicals into the air. The ozone regulations, which have been controversial for years, went into effect two years ago over the objections of the chemical industry.
The EPA local office is threatening to pursue further action in the case, including requiring that Chemco's plant be shut down if it continues violating the regulations.
John Ellis, the chief lobbyist for the Washington, D.C.-based environmental group AirWatch, backs the EPA's finding. "We think Chemco's behavior is scandalous," said Ellis. "They're flouting the health of the earth and the laws of the country." He urged EPA to follow through by shutting down the factory.
There is no neighborhood association in your area, although you are on friendly terms with most of your neighbors.