Campaign Finance Reform Essay

782 Words Nov 16th, 2008 4 Pages
Campaign Finance Reform
Effective election campaigns have always relied on the candidates’ ability to raise money. Even in the days before television, radio and the internet, it still took money to get the word out to the people in a far-flung land. However, today’s candidates are faced with raising larger and larger amounts of money with each new election that comes along.
Individuals are the primary source of campaign funding at the federal level, with political action committees running a close second. Their donations are regulated donations and are referred to as “hard money.” Organizations also contribute money to campaigns but often do so indirectly in ways that allow them to skirt regulations pertaining to campaign finance.
…show more content…
I agree that, deep down, there is something wrong with the way in which campaigns in the United States are financed. There is little doubt that large corporations and/or special interest groups have a “quid pro quo” expectation attached to the outlay of large sums of money (an expectation of a direct exchange of campaign contributions for favorable government treatment).
That being said, however, I also think an equal (perhaps greater) problem is the role the media plays in any election. Journalists have human biases and often times they allow them to show by promoting those candidates with whom they agree philosophically or, even worse, providing more coverage for those they know will produce higher ratings.
But assuming that campaign finance reform is the way to go, the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech means any changes will need to be considered constitutional by the United States Supreme Court. Yale Law School professors Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres proposed “a system of modified public financing coupled with an anonymous campaign contribution process” as outlined in their 2004 book entitled Voting with Dollars: A new paradigm for campaign finance. This type of financing would involve two components: patriot dollars (federal funds) and secret donations. All voters would be given a $50 publicly-funded voucher (patriot dollars) to donate to the campaign(s) of their choice. Both