Campaign Finance Reform
With the introduction of “soft” money in politics, elections no longer go to the best candidate, but simply to the richer one. Soft money is defined as unregulated money that is given to the political parties that ends up being used by candidates in an election. In last year’s elections, the Republican and Democratic parties raised more than one-half of a billion dollars in soft money. Current politicians are pushing the envelope farther than any previous administrations when it comes to finding loopholes in the legal system for campaign fundraising. The legal limit that any one person can contribute to a given candidate or campaign is one thousand dollars. There is, however, no limit on the amount of money one can contribute to a political party. Therefore people can contribute unlimited amounts to financially support “issue ads” which support a particular candidate without actually saying vote for or against an individual. There is currently a bill being petitioned in the Senate that would change the laws to include soft money under the classification of campaign money. It would then be regulated like all other money that a candidate raises.
The main argument that has halted past legislature on campaign finance reform sites the first amendment. Many people feel it is their constitutional right to contribute to a campaign in any amount or manner they see fit. The Supreme Court, in Buckley versus Valeo, ruled that congress cannot regulate when a candidate may put ads on television because it is a violation of the first amendment. The Supreme Court sited in its ruling that, “One’s right to speak in his own behalf in an election campaign protects the expenditure of funds that are used to buy advertising,...
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...ul. According to Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine, “The twin loopholes of soft money and bogus issue ads have virtually obliterated out campaign finance laws, leaving us with little more that a pile of legal rubble” (3). It is up to the current elected officials to change that, for the nation is in need of campaign finance reform more now than ever.
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