The effort to change the way money is involved in campaign financing has been a common theme in American politics, even in non-election years. Since the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1972, many people have had the opinion that much more had to be done to reform the way money was involved in politics, especially in elections. The focus for many is on the federal elections, pointedly the presidential elections.
A few weeks ago, the United States House of Representatives took the first step towards ending public financing of national political elections and conventions of political parties. Those behind this measure contend that the public no longer believed in public financing, citing that it was merely wasting tax monies. Since the 1970’s federal income tax forms allowed filers to donate to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. But, that program has never really been successful in raising campaign funds. In 2012, about 95% of the taxpayers did not donate the $3 to the fund.
Donations to political parties and candidates is the other major funding source and has always been a “hot button” issue. Both the public and the candidates believe there must be a change in the funding and that is nothing new. But, exactly how to do it is the continuing debate. The most recent federal legislation, the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002, limited donations by individuals to only $1,000 and Political Action Committees were limited to $5,000. These particular donations are known as “hard money” donations. Money which is donated by organizations but not targeting a specific candidate or campaign is sometimes termed “soft money.” This money can be used for a political party on organizations, recruiting, or such things, without specifically naming a candidate. This is unregulated because it does not go to a particular candidate, although some say that is the actual result. In other words, grass-roots organizing and state level or local level political matters...
References: The Washington Times, House panel advances measures to ax public campaign financing, June 4, 2013, by Sean Lengell
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