ATLANTA -- When Gov. Lawton Chiles of Florida launched a no-holds-barred crusade to sever the link between the politics and the awarding of bond contracts, the municipal bond community was startled.

Gov. Chiles' proposals, made two months ago, were noteworthy because they marked the first time a government official had tried to place restrictions on campaign contributions from the public securities industry. They were shocking because of how directly the proposals confronted a widely acknowledged problem.

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