The president of the Christian Action Network (CAN) says the Clinton administration is trying to eliminate the organization and settle an old grudge at the same time.

The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has threatened to levy a fine of up to $250,000 against CAN for airing a 30-second commercial during the 1992 presidential campaign. The FEC says the commercial crossed the line between educating the public about candidates to endorsing them. "There's a potential here to set back the whole Christian activist movement," says CAN president Martin Mawyer. "This is a very, very strange interpretation the FEC has come up with that you can't educate people about where a candidate stands on the issues."

CAN ran commercials in 70 television outlets nationwide that highlighted promises Clinton had made at a meeting with homosexuals, promises that Mawyer says the mainstream media had not yet reported to the public. At the end of the ad, CAN posed a question: "Is this your vision of a better America?" Mawyer says the commercial angered Democratic party chairman Ron Brown, who reported CAN to the FEC. Now, Mawyer says, the Clinton administration is settling old debts.

"What our ad said was certainly not expressed advocacy," Mawyer says. "I don't think they have a legitimate claim." An attempt at an out-of-court settlement failed, he says.

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