Campaign Finance Reform Essay

3020 Words Oct 26th, 2008 13 Pages
Introduction
Each year billions of dollars are spent on getting candidates of various offices of government elected. Many candidates have had tremendous success through the efforts of much needed monetary contributions to their campaign. Contributors range from unions, religious leaders, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), the National Rifle Association (NRA), and senior citizens groups. When these groups, known as special interest groups, donate to candidate’s campaign, they expect the candidate to respond to their issues. Because special interest groups, as well as private citizens donate more and more money to campaigns, there is some concern that there is a great need for campaign finance reform.
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Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA)
When Senators Russ Feingold and Senator McCain introduced the first version of the BCRA on September 7, 1995, soft money was still in the reform. “Soft money contributions, which were unregulated donations made to a political party, were not allowed under the law to influence individual candidates or campaigns. But in practice, soft money given to political parties was funneled to individual campaigns, or used to run phony "issue ads" that were actually advertisements for a candidate. As the parties collected more and more soft money, it became impossible to ignore at least the perception that large contributors, corporations, and labor unions were buying access to politicians. In the 1992 election cycle, the parties raised a total of $86 million in soft money. In 1996, that number more than tripled to $262 million. And in 2000, soft money receipts nearly doubled again to $495 million, nearly half a billion dollars. It was the equivalent of hanging a "For Sale" sign on our nation's capital (Feingold, 2004, p. 1). The McCain-Feingold-Shays-Meehan act bans these soft money contributions.
On March 27, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), Public Law No. 107-155. The BCRA contains changes to the federal campaign finance law, to include:
• A prohibition on "Soft Money" -- i.e., solicitation and use of nonfederal funds by
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