Campaign Finance Reform Essay

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Campaign Finance Reform


The Democratic and Republican presidential nominees for 1999 raised an astounding 126 million to finance their campaigns in the primaries (Godfrey). The U.S. national political parties raised a record 107.2 million dollars in soft money contributions in 1999 (Campaign Finance Reform). During the 1995-96 elections, public citizens estimated that an astounding 150 million dollars was spent on "phony" issue ads designed to support or oppose congressional and presidential candidates (Campaign Finance Reform). This outrageous influx of money into congressional and presidential campaigns has placed a blanket of corruption and injustice over our nation’s elections. With the rise of campaign corruption, many
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Of course, such influence establishes a tyranny of the rich that our forefathers clearly wanted to prevent. Senator Russ Feingold, a proponent of campaign finance reform, said, "The current campaign finance system is fueling the transformation of our representative democracy into a corporate democracy creating a political system that allots power in direct relation to the amount of money an individual or interest group can contribute" (Campaign Finance Reform). The horror of such a governmental system has fueled the cries for campaign finance reform.
The current network of campaign finance is a complicated web involving individual contributors, soft money and hard money, and political action committee influence. In the aftermath of the crooked Watergate scandal, anxiety over campaign finance led to the passage of two major reform bills—the Revenue Act of 1971 and the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974—that have set the guidelines and regulations for campaign finance. Although many other laws and acts have been passed in effort to regulate campaign finance, these two acts set the main standards for campaign finance regulation. The main ideas of the acts stipulate that candidates for the two houses of Congress receive no public funding, candidates in the presidential primaries receive matching dollars, and candidates…