Essay about Campaign Finance Reform

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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
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The Supreme Court also sited in that same ruling that, “In a free society by our Constitution, it is not the government, but the people-individually as citizens and candidates and collectively as associations and political committees-who must retain control over the quantity and range of debate on public issues in a political campaign” (Keena 6). While it may be a violation of freedom of speech to limit television ads, many of today’s candidates have made a mockery of the existing legislature regarding campaign financing. Ex-president Bill Clinton bent the rules and laws more than possibly any elected official ever, and certainly farther than anyone since Richard Nixon. Thad Cochran, a veteran Republican senator from Mississippi, stated, “Clinton used his own party and had it operated out of the campaign office, which was the White House, to coordinate expenditures by the Democratic Party and his election campaign in an unlimited amount, using soft money to pay for the ads, with his own chief-of-staff making the decisions about the kind of advertising, and Clinton himself was involved in writing some of the ads that were actually run by the Democratic Party using soft money” (Williams 10). No elected official had ever gone so far as to run soft money ads out of his own office, let alone rewrite the ads himself. It is cases such as this one that are prime examples for why there is such a need for new laws to govern campaign financing.
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