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Campaign Finance Reform Essay

March 29th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The United States has a long standing tradition of privately financed political campaigns, and also attempts at political campaign finance reform for just as long. However, it has only been in recent years that political campaign finance reform has had an impact on the elections of politicians.

On January 19, 1999 the bipartisan campaign reform act, was introduced to congress by, senators John McCain, and Russ Feingold. The provisions of the McCain-Feingold bill include above all, a ban on “soft money.” “Soft money” as it is called, are political donations made in such a way as to avoid federal regulations or limits. This type of donation is accomplished by donating to a party organization rather than to a particular candidate or campaign. However, on March 21, 2002 after being approved by the senate by a 60-40 vote, the ban on “soft money” now heads to the white house for approval.

Campaign finance reform is a necessary step in the journey to reclaim our representatives and take control of campaign money. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that limits on one’s own campaign must be voluntary. The enrollment of a campaign finance reform package, which would include public funding, contribution and spending limits, a shorter campaign season, and more stringent electronic disclosure requirements, would help alleviate many problems within campaign financing.

One problem within the system, are the large sums of money which special interest groups, and wealthy citizens donate to candidates campaigns. These large donations are more often than not, used as a way to bribe the candidate into voting in favor of the donors views rather than constituents views. This method seems a bit extreme, but then you must consider the cost in running for office. Recently, Mike Bloomberg, the new mayor of New York spent $74 million dollars of his own money campaigning for the mayor’s office, while his opponent spent about half of that. A poll of congressional campaign expenditures from 1981 to 1996 showed that since 1981, there has been an increase in campaign expenditures of $422.9 million. This gradual increase of campaign expenses throughout fifteen years proves that campaign finances are playing a more important role in the election of politicians. The increase of money spent on campaigning, makes society ponder the thought of whether or not, these politicians are trying to buy there way into office, whether it be through the use of personal money, or through “soft money.”

Thus, political campaign finance reform is greatly needed to stop the donations of “soft money.” This type of donation seems to be the problem associated with campaign finances. What should happen is that there should be a limit to the amount of money a candidate should receive and spend. This scenario should help make elections more even. A politician should not win his/her office based on the increased publicity he/she received as a result of increased spending abilities. Hence, a ban on “soft money” should help hinder the availability of such large sums of money.

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