preview

The Power of Money in Campaign Finance

Powerful Essays
It may seem that with the Buckley decision, soft money and PACs the hope for reform has been lost, however there is still hope. The Supreme Court upheld the voluntary public financing of presidential election, which was considered a great step forward because taking public funds requires the candidate to limit their spending on the federal level. There is also the “hard money” in political campaigns, which is strictly regulated by law through the Federal Election Commission. Hard money is the contrast to soft money meaning that it is the contributions made by a person or PAC that gives to a federal campaign or political party for the use in federal elections. But of course with one step forward there is always two steps back. Because of the way soft money has forged it way into being one of the primary sources of federal campaigns, it has made a mockery of public financing at the federal level. Soft money and all its allied forms of legal cheating and finance loopholes have almost completely stopped any effort or control to regulate and disclose federal campaign funding.

From the 1980s to 2002 Congress played an active part in helping the parties and candidates through loopholes (arguably Congress is still presently helping). James Bopp (1999) believes the explosion of soft money in political campaigns in part came from the 1996 elections when national and state party committees would use soft money to pay for advertisements that featured their respective nominees, but were not subject to the spending limitations of publicly funded candidates. These advertisements are referred to as issue ads, which would clearly promote the victory or defeat of candidates, but because they did not use the words “vote for”, “elect”, or “defeat” ...

... middle of paper ...

...nders in congress are willing to go to stretch the line of the laws and legal cheat just to keep their seat and the money flowing into their pockets. In present society politics is at its dirtiest and most cynical, evenly chipping away what our constitution stands for and our democratic values.

I cannot in any way say what the future will hold for this uphill battle for disclosure and regulations on campaign finance. But I do know that the time for action is slowly passing by and if something is not done soon I fear the U.S. government may be lost to all and any forms of revival. Our government would basically have to start a new throwing everything off balance. Our government is standing on thin ice not only with its own citizens but also with foreign relations, it only takes waiting a day to long until the ice finally breaks and the American government sinks.
Get Access