Campaign Finance Reform: The History, Present, and Future Essay

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Campaign Finance reform has been a topic of interest throughout the history of the United States Government, especially in the more recent decades. There are arguments on both sides of the issue. Proponents of campaign finance limits argue that wealthy donors and corporations hold too much power in elections and as a result they can corrupt campaigns. Those who favor less regulation argue that campaign donations are a form of free speech. One case in particular, Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission has altered everything with pertaining to Campaign Finance. Patronage was a prevalent part of early elections. During most of the early history of the United States, there was no legislation passed on behalf of campaign finance …show more content…
Each of these committees would donate less than $100; therefore, avoiding the need to report the donation (Fuller). In the 1930s two acts were passed, the Public Utilities Holding Act in 1935 and the Hatch Act in 1939. The former of the two prohibits utility companies from making contributions in federal campaigns, while the latter bans most federal employees from making contributions to a candidate in national elections and from participating in political campaigns (Rowan). The Smith Connelly Act was passed in 1943, which bans labor unions from making direct contributions to federal campaigns. However, unions create political action committees, or PACs, to make campaign contributions. The Taft-Hartley Act was passed in 1947. This Act bans corporations and unions from making independent expenditures in federal political campaigns (Rowan). The 1970s began a more active era of campaign finance reform. The passing of the Revenue Act of 1971 allows citizens to contribute one dollar to a presidential candidate’s campaign fund by checking a box on their federal income tax returns. Along with the Revenue Act of 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act was also passed in 1971. This law institutes disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties, and political action committees of donations more than $100. This law also sets a spending limit of $50,000

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