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Encyclopedia > Campaign finance reform

Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns. Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political campaign is an organized effort to influence the decision making process within a group. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... Campaign finance refers to the means by which money is raised for election campaigns. ... In the past, political campaigns were conducted using traditional methods of personal contact, such as television and radio media purchasing, print advertising and direct mail. ... Opposition research often referred to as oppo is the section of an election campaign designed to investigate the life and record of the opposing candidate. ... Political consulting is the business which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns, primarily in the United States. ... In politics, campaign advertising is the use of paid media (newspapers, radio, television, etc. ... Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Canvassing is the systematic contacting of individuals in a target group, often in a particular geographic area. ... Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An election promise is a promise made to the public by a politician who is trying to win an election. ... Get out the vote, sometimes GOTV, is a term used to describe two categories of political activity, both aimed at increasing the number of votes cast in one or more elections. ... Lawn signs placed near a polling place in the U.S., July 2004 Lawn signs are one of the most visible features of an election campaign in some countries. ... Negative campaigning is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent or of a policy rather than emphasizing ones own positive attributes or preferred policies. ... An attack ad in election terms is an advertisement whose message is meant as an attack against another candidate or political party. ... Fear mongering is often used in a time of war as a political tactic to frighten citizens and influence their political views. ... A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. ... A smear campaign or smear tactics are deliberate attempts by an individual or group to malign another individual or groups reputation. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Look up Candidate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In United States and other democracies, political campaigns larger than a few individuals generally include a campaign manager whose role is to coordinate the campaigns operations. ... The staff of political campaigns are the people who get paid to formulate and implement the strategy needed to win an election. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political campaign is an organized effort to influence the decision making process within a group. ...


Although attempts to regulate campaign finance by legislation date back to 1867, the first successful attempts nationally to regulate and enforce campaign finance originated in the 1970s. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971 required candidates to disclose sources of campaign contributions and campaign expenditure. It was amended in 1974 with the introduction of legal limits on contributions, and creation of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as "McCain-Feingold," after its sponsors, is the most recent major federal law on campaign finance, which revised some of the legal limits of expenditure set in 1974, and prohibited unregulated contributions (called "soft money") to national political parties. Cunt BAg Twat Fuk suck my penis ring 0778851865!!!!!!Year 1867 (MDCCCLXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Federal Election Campaign Act is an American law passed in 1971 to increase disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns and amended in 1974 to place legal limits on the campaign contributions. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency created in 1975 by Congress to administer and enforce campaign finance legislation in the United States. ... The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) is U.S. Congressional legislation which regulates the financing of political campaigns. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

History

First attempts

Money has been associated with elections since the inception of the electoral process in the United States. Out of four million citizens during the Revolution, only 800,000 property owners were enfranchised. In 1777 James Madison lost a race for the Virginia legislature, which he claimed was due to his refusal to provide alcohol. Aaron Burr persuaded the New York state assembly to create an anti-Federalist state bank for the purpose of helping citizens buy land in order to gain votes. James Madison (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836), an American politician and fourth President of the United States of America (1809–1817), was one of the most influential Founders of the United States. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


By the time of the presidential election of 1828, 22 two of the 24 states chose presidential electors through the popular vote and most had abandoned the property requirement. Some politicians had been known to buy votes and pay repeat voters. In 1823 the price of a vote in New York City was $5 and for repeat voters, went as high as $30. New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ...


In order to gain votes from recently enfranchised, unpropertied voters, Andrew Jackson launched his campaign for the 1828 election through a network of partisan newspapers across the nation. After his election, Jackson began a political patronage system that rewarded political party operatives, which had a profound effect on future elections. Eventually, appointees were expected to contribute portions of their pay back to the political machine. During the Jacksonian era, some of the first attempts were made by corporations to influence politicians. Jackson claimed that his charter battle against the Second Bank of the United States was one of the great struggles between democracy and the money power. The Bank of the United States in turn spent over $40,000 from 1830 to 1832 in an effort to stop Jackson's re-election.[citation needed] For other uses, see Andrew Jackson (disambiguation). ... The Second Bank of the United States was a bank chartered in 1816, five years after the expiration of the First Bank of the United States. ...


In the 1850s Pennsylvania Republican Simon Cameron began to develop what became known as the "Pennsylvania Idea" of applying the wealth of corporations to help maintain Republican control of the legislature. Political machines across the country used the threat of hostile legislation to force corporate interests into paying for the defeat of the measures. U.S. Senators of the time were elected not by popular vote, but by state legislatures, whose votes could sometimes be bought. Exposed bribery occurred in Colorado, Kansas, Montana and West Virginia. Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 280 miles (455 km)  - Length 160 miles (255 km)  - % water 2. ... Official language(s) English Capital Denver Largest city Denver Area  Ranked 8th  - Total 104,185 sq mi (269,837 km²)  - Width 280 miles (451 km)  - Length 380 miles (612 km)  - % water 0. ... Official language(s) English[2] Capital Topeka Largest city Wichita Area  Ranked 15th  - Total 82,277 sq mi (213,096 km²)  - Width 211 miles (340 km)  - Length 417 miles (645 km)  - % water 0. ... Official language(s) English Capital Helena Largest city Billings Area  Ranked 4th  - Total 147,165 sq mi (381,156 km²)  - Width 255 miles (410 km)  - Length 630 miles (1,015 km)  - % water 1  - Latitude 44°26N to 49°N  - Longitude 104°2W to 116°2W Population  Ranked... Official language(s) English Capital Charleston Largest city Charleston Area  Ranked 41st  - Total 24,244 sq mi (62,809 km²)  - Width 130 miles (210 km)  - Length 240 miles (385 km)  - % water 0. ...


Abraham Lincoln's attempt to finance his own 1858 Senate run bankrupted him, even though he had arranged a number of $500 expense accounts from wealthy donors. However, he was able to regain enough money in his law practice to purchase an Illinois newspaper to support him in the presidential election of 1860, for which he gained the financial support of businessmen in Philadelphia and New York City. For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ...


After the Civil War, parties increasingly relied on wealthy individuals for support, including Jay Cooke, the Vanderbilts and the Astors. In the absence of a civil service system, parties also continued to rely heavily on financial support from government employees, including assessments of a portion of their federal pay. The first federal campaign finance law, passed in 1867, was a Naval Appropriations Bill which prohibited government employees from soliciting contributions from Navy yard workers. Later, the Pendleton Act of 1883 established the civil service and ended the practice of assessments at the Federal level. However, this loss of a major funding source increased pressure on parties to solicit funding from corporate and individual wealth. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Cunt BAg Twat Fuk suck my penis ring 0778851865!!!!!!Year 1867 (MDCCCLXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


In the campaign of 1872 a group of wealthy New York Democrats pledged $10,000 each to pay for the costs of promoting the election. On the Republican side, one Ulysses S. Grant supporter alone contributed one fourth of the total finances. One historian said that never before was a candidate under such a great obligation to men of wealth. Vote buying and voter coercion were common in this era. After more standardized ballots were introduced, these practices continued, applying methods such as carbon paper under ballots for proof of payment. Ulysses S. Grant[2] (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869–1877). ...


Boise Penrose mastered post-Pendleton Act corporate funding through extortionist tactics, such as squeeze bills (legislation threatening to tax or regulate business unless funds were contributed.) During his successful 1896 U.S. Senate campaign he raised a quarter million dollars within 48 hours. He allegedly told supporters that they send him to Congress to enable them to make more money.


In 1896 a wealthy Ohio industrialist, shipping magnate and political operative, Mark Hanna became Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Hanna directly contributed $100,000 to the nomination campaign of fellow Ohioan William McKinley, but recognized that more would be needed to fund the general election campaign. Hanna systemized fund-raising from the business community. He assessed banks 0.25% of their capital, and corporations were assessed in relation to their profitability and perceived stake in the prosperity of the country. McKinley's run became the prototype of the modern commercial advertising campaign, putting the President-to-be's image on buttons, billboards, posters, etc. Business supporters, determined to defeat the Democratic-populist William Jennings Bryan, were more than happy to give, and Hanna actually refunded or turned down what he considered to be "excessive" contributions that exceeded a business's "assessment.[citation needed] For the mountain, see Mount McKinley. ...


Twentieth century Progressive advocates, muckraker journalists and political satirists argued to the general public that the policies of vote buying and excessive corporate and moneyed influence were abandoning the interests of millions of taxpayers. They advocated strong antitrust laws, restricting corporate lobbying and campaign contributions, and greater citizen participation and control, including standardized secret ballots, strict voter registration and women's suffrage. In American English, a muckraker is a journalist or an author who searches for and exposes scandals and abuses occurring in business and politics. ... List of satirists below - writers, cartoonists and others known for their involvement in satire - humourous social criticism. ...


In his first term, President Theodore Roosevelt, following President McKinley's assassination of 1901, began trust-busting and anti corporate influence activities, but fearing defeat, turned to bankers and industrialists for support in what turned out to be his 1904 landslide campaign. Roosevelt was embarrassed by his corporate financing and was unable to clear a suspicion of a quid pro quo exchange with E.H. Harriman for what was an eventually unfulfilled ambassador nomination. There was a resulting national call for reform, but Roosevelt claimed that it was legitimate to accept large contributions if there were no implied obligation. However, in his 1905 message to Congress following the election, he proposed that "contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law." The proposal, however, included no restrictions on campaign contributions from the private individuals who owned and ran corporations. Roosevelt also called for public financing of federal candidates via their political parties. The movement for a national law to require disclosure of campaign expenditures, begun by the National Publicity Law Association, was supported by Roosevelt but delayed by Congress for a decade. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. ... “Corporate” redirects here. ...


This first effort at wide-ranging reform resulted in the Tillman Act in 1907. Named for its sponsor, South Carolina Senator Ben Tillman, the Tillman Act prohibited corporations and nationally chartered (interstate) banks from making direct financial contributions to federal candidates. However, weak enforcement mechanisms made the Act ineffective. Disclosure requirements and spending limits for House and Senate candidates followed in 1910 and 1911. General contribution limits were enacted in the Federal Corrupt Practices Act (1925). An amendment to the Hatch Act of 1939 set an annual ceiling of $3 million for political parties' campaign expenditures and $5,000 for individual campaign contributions. The Smith-Connally Act (1943) and Taft-Hartley Act (1947) extended the corporate ban to labor unions. *** Year 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Benjamin Ryan Tillman (August 11, 1847 - July 3, 1918) was an American politician who served as governor of South Carolina from 1890 to 1894 and as a United States Senator from 1895 until his death. ... The United States House of Representatives (or simply the House) is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress; the other is the Senate. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Politics Portal      The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the... The Federal Corrupt Practices Act (also known as the Publicity Act) was a federal law of the United States enacted in 1910 and amended in 1911 and 1925. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Hatch Act of 1939 is a United States federal law whose main provision is to prohibit federal employees (civil servants) from engaging in partisan political activity. ... The Smith-Connally Act (also called the Smith Connally Anti-Strike Act or the War Labor Disputes Act) was an American law passed on June 25, 1943 over President Franklin D. Roosevelts veto. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Labor-Management Relations Act, commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act, is a United States federal law that greatly restricts the activities and power of labor unions. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A trade union or labor union is a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment. ...


FECA and the Watergate amendments

All of these efforts were largely ineffective, easily circumvented and rarely enforced. In 1971, however, Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act, requiring broad disclosure of campaign finance. In 1974, fueled by public reaction to the Watergate Scandal, Congress passed amendments to the Act establishing a comprehensive system of regulation and enforcement, including public financing of presidential campaigns and creation of a central enforcement agency, the Federal Election Commission. Other provisions included strict limits on contributions to campaigns and expenditures by campaigns, individuals, and other political groups. The Federal Election Campaign Act is an American law passed in 1971 to increase disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns and amended in 1974 to place legal limits on the campaign contributions. ... The Watergate scandal was a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at a Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C. by members of Richard Nixons administration and the resulting cover-up which led to the resignation of the President. ... The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency created in 1975 by Congress to administer and enforce campaign finance legislation in the United States. ...


The new law was immediately challenged on First Amendment grounds in Federal Court, resulting in a landmark Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo. The Buckley decision recognized that regulation burdened the rights of free speech and assembly, but held that the compelling government interest in preventing corruption or its appearance justified some restrictions on free speech. The resulting decision upheld contribution limits, so long as they were not so low as to prevent campaigns from amassing the resources necessary to communicate effectively with the public, disclosure requirements, and voluntary public financing. It found limits on expenditures to be unconstitutional infringements on free speech. It also restricted the reach of the law to speech by candidates and parties, that is, groups established for the purpose of electing candidates, and to communications that expressly advocated the election or defeat of a candidate, using phrases such as "vote for," "vote against," "support," or "defeat." The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Buckley v. ... Freedom of speech is the right to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related right to hear what others have stated. ...


Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002

John McCain is the politician most recently associated with campaign finance reform

In 2002, spurred by the 1996 campaign finance scandal which involved illegal donations to the Democratic Party from overseas sources and, later, the collapse of Enron, a major contributor to politicians at all levels of the U.S. system, the Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), also called the McCain-Feingold bill after its chief sponsors, John McCain and Russ Feingold. Final passage in the Senate came after supporters mustered the bare minimum of 60 votes needed to shut off debate. The bill passed the Senate, 60-40 on March 20, 2002, and was signed into law by President Bush on March 27, 2002. In signing the law, Bush expressed concerns about the constitutionality of parts of the legislation but concluded, "I believe that this legislation, although far from perfect, will improve the current financing system for Federal campaigns... Taken as a whole, this bill improves the current system of financing for Federal campaigns, and therefore I have signed it into law." The bill was the first significant overhaul of federal campaign finance laws since the post-Watergate scandal era. Portrait of Senator John McCain from http://mccain. ... For McCains grandfather and father, see John S. McCain, Sr. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... President Clinton with convicted fund-raiser Charlie Trie The 1996 United States campaign finance controversy was an alleged effort by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to influence domestic American politics prior to and during the Clinton administration and also involved the fund-raising practices of the administration itself. ... The Democratic Party is one of two major political parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party. ... Enron Corporation (Former NYSE ticker symbol: ENE) was an American energy company based in Houston, Texas. ... The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) is U.S. Congressional legislation which regulates the financing of political campaigns. ... For McCains grandfather and father, see John S. McCain, Sr. ... Russell Dana Russ Feingold (born March 2, 1953) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Politics Portal      The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the... is the 79th day of the year (80th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States, inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... is the 86th day of the year (87th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... The Watergate scandal was a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at a Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C. by members of Richard Nixons administration and the resulting cover-up which led to the resignation of the President. ...


The BCRA was a mixed bag for those who wanted to remove the money from politics. It eliminated all soft money donations to the national party committees--but it also doubled the contribution limit of hard money, from $1,000 to $2,000 per election cycle, with a built-in increase for inflation. In addition, the bill aimed to curtail ads by non-party organizations by banning the use of corporate or union money to pay for 'electioneering communications,' a term defined as broadcast advertising that identifies a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or nominating convention, or 60 days of a general election. This provision of McCain-Feingold, sponsored by Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and Vermont Independent James Jeffords, as introduced applied only to for-profit corporations, but was extended to incorporated, non-profit issue organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund or the National Rifle Association, as part of the 'Wellstone Amendment', sponsored by Senator Paul Wellstone. Soft money refers to money used to advance a particular political campaign in such a manner as to skirt the legal limits on how much money individuals or organizations are allowed to contribute to political campaigns (termed hard money). ...


The law was challenged as unconstitutional by groups and individuals including the California State Democratic Party, the National Rifle Association, and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), the Senate Majority Whip. After moving through lower courts, in September 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, McConnell v. FEC. On Wednesday, December 10, 2003, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that upheld the key provisions of McCain-Feingold; the vote on the court was 5 to 4. Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the majority opinion; they were joined by David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, and opposed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia. Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... This article concerns the National Rifle Association of the USA. For the UK organisation, see National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom The National Rifle Association, or NRA, is a non-profit group for the promotion of marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection of hunting and personal protection firearm rights... Addison Mitchell Mitch McConnell, Jr. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... In politics, a whip is a member of a political party in a legislature whose task is to ensure that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... McConnell v. ... December 10 is the 344th day (345th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, 21 days before the next year. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is currently the most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Sandra Day OConnor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. ... David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1990. ... Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933, Brooklyn, New York) is an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth- or other countries with an Anglosaxon type of justice, such as the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the Supreme... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... Anthony McLeod Kennedy (born July 23, 1936) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1988. ... Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936[1]) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ...


Since then campaign finance limitations continue to be regulated in the Courts. In an interesting case, in 2005 in Washington State, Thurston County Judge Christopher Wickham ruled that media articles and segments were considered in-kind contributions under state law. The heart of the matter focused on the I-912 campaign to repeal a fuel tax, and specifically two broadcasters for Seattle conservative talker KVI. Judge Wickham's ruling was eventually overturned on appeal in April of 2007, with the Washington Supreme Court holding that on-air commentary was not covered by the State's campaign finance laws. (No New Gas Tax v. San Juan County).


In 2006, the United States Supreme Court issued two decisions on campaign finance. In Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission, it held that certain advertisements might be constitutionally entitled to an exception from the 'electioneering communications' provisions of McCain-Feingold limiting broadcast ads that merely mention a federal candidate within 60 days of an election. On remand, a lower court then held that certain ads aired by Wisconsin Right to Life in fact merited such an exception. The Federal Election Commission appealed that decision, and in June 2007, the Supreme Court held in favor of Wisconsin Right to Life. In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court declined to overturn the electioneering communications limits in their entirety, but established a broad exemption for any ad that could have a reasonable interpretation as an ad about legislative issues. Indicating the new Court majority's temperament, Roberts' opinion declares flatly, "Enough is enough."


Also in 2006, the Supreme Court held that a Vermont law imposing mandatory limits on spending was unconstitutional, under the precedent of Buckley v. Valeo. In that case, Randall v. Sorrell, the Court also struck down Vermont's contribution limits as unconstitutionally low, the first time that the Court had ever struck down a contribution limit.


Criticisms of campaign finance reform

In addition to criticisms grounded in the First Amendment, campaign finance reform is often criticized for its unintended consequences, including less competitive elections, the propagation of extremely complicated instructions, and the discouragment of political giving.


Most opponents claim that CFR infringes on free speech and violates the First Amendment rights. The argument states that the purpose of the free speech clause of the First Amendment is the guarantee that people have the right to publish their political views. Under this view, when the laws prohibit people from advocating for or against political candidates by restricting the content of political advertising, the laws are in conflict with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of political speech. Freedom of speech is the right to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related right to hear what others have stated. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ...


Many opponents have charged that changes to campaign finance laws can produce unintended harmful consequences. For example, many political scientists say that the rise of PACs helped hasten the weakening of political parties in the United States, as candidates grew more entrepreneurial in their fundraising and gained access to campaign finance outside of party channels; opponents have noted (and decried) this unexpected change which has resulted in unusually long periods of fundraising and proportionally less time for campaigning. Another example is that disclosure requirements may lead individuals to avoid giving to challengers, and increase giving to incumbents, as individual large donors might wish to avoid angering the current office-holder. Restrictions on giving and spending also seem to benefit incumbents, further entrenching them from effective challenge. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... For the ecclesiastical office, see Incumbent (ecclesiastical). ...


Others argue that money can never be separated from political influence. This has become painfully true with the influence and power exhibited in the 2004 elections by 527s such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Moveon.org. These two groups, among others, spent nearly $400 million on influencing the most recent elections, namely by heavily criticizing, respectively Sen. John Kerry and Pres. George W. Bush. A 527 group is a type of tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, created primarily to influence the nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates for public office. ... Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), is an organization of American Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign. ... A group of MoveOn volunteers helped the get-out-the-vote drive in Cincinnati in the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. ... John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts, in his fourth term of office. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States, inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ...


Critics of CFR form a broad coalition, as both conservative interest groups (such as the National Rifle Association and the Christian Coalition) and liberal interest groups (AFL-CIO and American Civil Liberties Union) are vehemenently opposed to CFR. This article deals with conservatism as a political philosophy. ... This article concerns the National Rifle Association of the USA. For the UK organisation, see National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom The National Rifle Association, or NRA, is a non-profit group for the promotion of marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection of hunting and personal protection firearm rights... This article is about the organization presently operating in the United States. ... American liberalism—that is, liberalism in the United States of America—is a broad political and philosophical mindset, favoring individual liberty, and opposing restrictions on liberty, whether they come from established religion, from government regulation, from the existing class structure, or from multi-national corporations. ... American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly AFL-CIO, is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of 54 national and international unions (including Canadian), together representing more than 10 million workers. ... The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a major American non-profit organization whose stated mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.[1] It works through litigation, legislation, and community...


In addition, many opponents point out that campaign finance regulations are excessively complicated. This, they say, prevents ordinary citizens from participating in the election process (especially from running for office) and limits participation to a wealthy elite who can afford the legal apparatus necessary to run. In modern campaigns, legal and accounting expenses are significant percentage of the overall budget. Opponents also claim that excessively complicated rules discourage participation more generally by dissuading people from even attempting political work or activism.


Many others argue that public financing of campaigns would be a financial albatross to the greater public, causing excessively big government. However this is easily refuted by comparing the low cost of the recent expensive federal elections (around $5B in 2004 [1]) with current government programs, for example the military budget of the United States at around $500B. The word albatross is sometimes used to mean an encumbrance, or a wearisome burden. ... The US military budget is that portion of the United States discretionary federal budget that is allocated for the funding of the Department of Defense. ...


Still, others point to the lack of systematic evidence that campaign contributions affect legislators' votes. In this regard, studies by political scientists have found that contributions are generally motivated by ideology and social connections.


Concerns about public financing

Supporters of public financing argue that US democracy lacks fairness because wealthy individuals and special interests have far greater political speech because of the contributions far larger than those of ordinary citizens that they can afford to make. They say that the only way to end the corruptive effects of large private contributions from politics is to either ban all private donations, or remove the possibility of quid pro quo. Quid pro quo (Latin for something for something [1]) indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. ...


Supporters of private donations argue that this is an unrealistic goal and say that theese are one of the most common means for ordinary citizens to participate in politics. They also say that government subsidization of political speech is contrary to the spirit of democracy and/or capitalism. Capitalism generally refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all or mostly privately[1][2] owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a free market. ...


Opponents of public financing claim that the government should not spend taxpayer money to promote the partisan political viewpoints of candidates for office. Supporters respond that voters shouldn't have to only hear from mostly one partisan side because that side is better at raising money from special interests that would like to influence policy at the taxpayer's expense.


In some places in which the laws were designed to favor the major parties, such as Connecticut, it has also faced criticism from minor parties, who often face large hurdles on access to public funds that don't trouble major-party candidates. Other laws, such as those in Arizona and Maine, are carefully designed so that the strongest candidates can qualify for funds regardless of party, while still assuring that fringe candidates won't receive public funds. The proposed Clean Money law in California, defeated at the polls in 2006, ( pro,con) would have treated major and minor parties differently but not to the same extent as Connecticut.


Other opponents of public financing claim that public financing has already corrupted the political process, with big government advocates buying voters' votes with promises of increases in entitlement programs, welfare, and pork barrel spending. Supporters say that when there's a level playing field, as they claim public funding provides, American voters can be trusted to make the "right" choices, and that elected officials will be accountable only to the voters, because the public paid for their campaigns, not big money special interests.


Current proposals for reform

Despite the passage of McCain Feingold, reformers continue to promote a large number of new reforms, including restrictions on independent citizens' groups, creation of a more powerful enforcement agency, and government or public financing of campaigns. Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political campaign is an organized effort to influence the decision making process within a group. ...


Matching Funds

One method allows the candidates to raise funds from private donors, but provides matching funds for the first chunk of donations. For instance, the government might "match" the first $250 of every donation. A system like this is currently in place in the U.S. presidential primaries. The series of U.S. presidential primaries is one of the first steps in the process of electing a President of the United States. ...


Clean Elections

Another method, which supporters call Clean Money, Clean Elections, gives each candidate who chooses to participate a certain, set amount of money. In order to qualify for this money, the candidates must collect a specified number of signatures and small (usually $5) contributions. The candidates are NOT allowed to accept outside donations or to use their own personal money if they receive this public funding. This procedure has been in place in races for all statewide and legislative offices in Arizona and Maine since 2000. Connecticut passed a Clean Elections law in 2005, along with the cities of Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico. 69% of the voters in Albuquerque voted Yes to Clean Elections. However, a Clean Elections initiative in California was defeated by a wide margin at the November, 2006 election, with just 25.7% in favor, 74.3% opposed (results). Clean Elections (sometimes called Clean Money or Voter-Owned Elections) is a system of government financing of political campaigns used in a small number of states and local political jurisdictions in the United States. ... Official language(s) English Spoken language(s) English 74. ... Official language(s) None (English and French de facto) Capital Augusta Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 39th  - Total 33,414 sq mi (86,542 km²)  - Width 210 miles (338 km)  - Length 320 miles (515 km)  - % water 13. ... Nickname: Location in Multnomah County and the state of Oregon Coordinates: , Country United States State Oregon County Multnomah County Incorporated February 8, 1851 Government  - Mayor Tom Potter Area  - City 376. ... Nickname: Location in the state of New Mexico Coordinates: , Country United States State New Mexico County Bernalillo Founded 1706 Government  - Mayor Martin Chavez Area  - City  181. ...


Many other states (such as New Jersey) have some form of limited financial assistance for candidates. Wisconsin and Minnesota have had partial public funding since the 1970s, but the systems have largely fallen into desuetude. Official language(s) English de facto Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Area  Ranked 47th  - Total 8,729 sq mi (22,608 km²)  - Width 70 miles (110 km)  - Length 150 miles (240 km)  - % water 14. ...


A clause in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("McCain-Feingold") required the nonpartisan General Accounting Office to conduct a study of Clean Elections programs in Arizona and Maine. Although the ensuing report, issued in May of 2003, cautioned that "it is too early to precisely draw causal linkages to resulting changes, if any, involving voter choice, electoral competition, interest group influence, campaign spending, and voter participation," in none of these categories did the study GAO find positive results from Clean Elections systems. ([2]) The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) is U.S. Congressional legislation which regulates the financing of political campaigns. ...


Voting with Dollars

A third proposed reform, outlined by Yale Law School professors Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres in their 2004 book Voting with Dollars: A new paradigm for campaign finance[3], would establish a system of modified public financing coupled with an anonymous campaign contribution process. This scheme has two parts: patriot dollars and the secret donation booth. All voters would be given a $50 publicly funded voucher (Patriot dollars) to donate to federal political campaigns. All donations including both the $50 voucher and additional private contributions, must be made anonymously through the FEC. The strength of this system is that it 'marketizes' public finance, avoiding centralized eligibility decisions while putting a lenient, high limit on private campaign donations, while at the same time removing the possibility of quid pro quo contributions. Ackerman and Ayres include model legislation in their book in addition to detailed discussion as to how such a system could be achieved and its legal basis. Bruce Arnold Ackerman (born August 19, 1943) is a famous constitutional law scholar in the United States. ... Ian Ayres Ian Ayres is the William K. Townsend Professor at the Yale Law School and a Professor at the Yale School of Management. ...


Of the Patriot dollars (eg $50 per voter) given to voters to allocate, they propose $25 going to presidential campaigns, $15 to Senate campaigns, and $10 to House campaigns. Within those restrictions the voucher can be split among any number of candidates for any federal race and between the primary and general elections. At the end of the current election cycle any unspent portions of this voucher would expire and could not be rolled over to subsequent elections for that voter. In the context of the 2004 election cycle $50 multiplied by the approximately 120 million people who voted would have yielded about $6 billion in “public financing” compared to the approximate $4 billion spent in 2004 for all federal elections (House, Senate and Presidential races) combined [4]. Ackerman and Ayers argue that this system would pool voter money and force candidates to address issues of importance to a broad spectrum of voters. Additionally they argue this public finance scheme would address taxpayers' concerns that they have "no say" in where public financing monies are spent, as in the Ackerman and Ayers system each taxpayer who votes has discretion over their contribution.


The second aspect of the system significantly increases private donation limits, but all contributions must be made anonymously through the FEC. In this system, when a contributor make a donation to a campaign they send their money to the FEC indicating which campaign they want it to go to. The FEC masks the money and distributes it directly to the campaigns in randomized chunks over a number of days. Ackerman and Ayres compare this system to the reforms adopted in the late 19th century aimed to prevent vote buying, which led to our current secret ballot process. Prior to that time voting was conducted openly, allowing campaigns to confirm that voters cast ballots for the candidates they had been paid to support. Ackerman and Ayres contend that if candidates do not know for sure who is contributing to their campaigns they are unlikely to take unpopular stances to court large donors which could jeopardize donations flowing from voter vouchers. Conversely, large potential donors will not be guaranteed political access or favorable legislation in return for their contributions since they cannot prove to candidates the supposed extent of their financial support.


See also

Campaign finance refers to the means by which money is raised for election campaigns. ... Campaign finance in the United States is the financing of electoral campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. ... In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group organized to elect or defeat government officials in order to promote legislation, often supporting the groups special interests. ... The Pacific scandal involves the allegations of bribes being taken by Canadas Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald. ... Clean Elections (sometimes called Clean Money or Voter-Owned Elections) is a system of government financing of political campaigns used in a small number of states and local political jurisdictions in the United States. ... Democracy Matters is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots student political organization that is dedicated to deepening democracy by promoting Clean Elections as a replacement to campaign corruption, and campaign finance reform. ...

References

  • Smith, Bradley (2001). Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11369-6. 
  • Green, Mark (2002). Selling Out, How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy. Regan Books (Harper Collins). ISBN 0-06-052392-1. 
  • Eds. Anthony Corrado, David B. Magleby, and Kelly Patterson (2006). Financing the 2004 Election. The Brookings Institution. ISBN 0-8157-5439-6. 
  • Public Funding of Presidential Elections. Federal Election Commission. Retrieved on August 3, 2005.
  • The Federal Election Campaign Laws:A Short History. Federal Election Commission. Retrieved on August 3, 2005.
  • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The Campaign Finance Institute. Retrieved on August 3, 2005.
  • "BP stops paying political parties", March 2002
  • League of Women Voters' Resources on Campaign Finance Reform
  • eds. David Magleby and Quin Monson (2002). The Last Hurrah? Soft Money and Issue Advocacy in the 2002 Congressional Elections. The Brookings Institution. ISBN 0-8157-5436-1. 

Bradley A. Smith is an American political scientist. ... Mark Green Mark J. Green (b. ...

External links

  • Center for Competitive Politics
  • Campaign Finance Institute
  • Democracy Matters:Organizing College Campuses
  • Advancing Ethics & Democracy: Reducing the need for campaigns
  • California Clean Money Campaign (www.CAclean.org)
  • PoliticalMoneyLine
  • REAL Campaign Reform.org
  • Open Secrets
  • Public Citizen's Campaign Finance Reform site
  • Buck Buckley Campaign
  • League of Women Voters' Resources on Campaign Finance Reform

 
 

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