Campaign Finance Reform

Topics: Federal Election Campaign Act, Campaign finance in the United States, Campaign finance reform Pages: 4 (1467 words) Published: February 2, 2014


Reducing the Power of Money in Politics

Advertisement spending is on pace to top $1 billion for the Presidential race alone(Montanaro, 2012), up from $343.1 million in the 2000 Presidential election (“Data Points: Presidential Campaign Spending,” 2008). The majority of the increase has come from the ability of corporations and unions to now donate unlimited amounts of money to Political Action Committees, groups set up with the sole purpose of spending money in elections. The power that these groups now hold over the democratic process is astounding, giving them large amounts of sway over politicians after the elections are over. Corruption was always the motivating factor in passing campaign finance laws, in the wake of the Citizen’s United ruling prior reforms no longer protect the American people from the polluting influence big money has over politician’s.

Prior to 1907, many campaign finance reforms were small in scale and prevented forced donations to political campaigns (“The Federal Election Campaign Laws”, n.d., para. 2). The most sweeping reforms did not occur until 1907, President Roosevelt introduced the Tillman Act to Congress, disallowing all contributions from national banks and corporations to candidates (Jost, 2010). Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act in 1971 (Billitteri, 2008), which put limits on individual contributions and increased public disclosure, as well as establishing regulations during elections. After the Watergate scandal, the Federal Election Campaign Act was amended to put more stringent limits on campaign donations. During the process Congress also created the Federal Election Commission (Jost, 2010). With their ability to donate directly to campaigns limited, individuals began donating to Political Action Committees, due to their more relaxed regulations. In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, banning soft money contributions and restricting...

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Phaneuf, K. (2011). The Clean-Election State. The American Prospect, Volume Number 23. 54.
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