Campaign Finance Reform and the Necessity of Democracy Essay

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Campaign Finance Reform and the Necessity of Democracy

One of the major notions of the American system of government is that it is a government by the people, for the people. The system is supposed to take into account the opinions and desires off all those who fall under its jurisdiction. This is said to be accomplished by a representative democracy, where citizens elect one of there own to speak for the group (Hastings, 04). Therefore, it is reasonable to infer that any eligible man or woman, under constitutional mandate, should be able to run for and win any office in the American government with no unfair advantages given to one candidate over another. This ideal still exists, but in today¡¦s modern society, only in
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Presidential candidates who agree to abide by spending limits qualify for matching funds during the primary season, and primary winners are given funds for their general campaigns. For Example, in 1996 the Dole and Clinton campaigns each received $37 million in primary matching funds and roughly $62 million for their fall campaigns. It is the ¡§soft money¡¨ that is causing a bulk of the controversy. According to Common Cause Magazine, Republican national organizations raised $75,853,472 while Democratic parties took in $65,126,376 in soft money from January 1995 through June 1996. The total for the 1996 election cycle could reach $250 million, three times more than in 1992. It's illegal to spend soft money in support of any particular federal candidate. In practice, though, the lines between party building and candidate promotion have blurred. Along with the rise of soft money, there has been a proliferation of political action committees (PACs). Under current law, PACs (which are basically an association of people with similar interests) are permitted to contribute $5,000 per federal candidate per election. Critics say incumbents, uniquely situated to raise PAC funds in Washington, derive an unfair advantage over challengers.
While there is bipartisan agreement that soft money is used in ways that mock the law, and that PACs benefit incumbents, there is sharp disagreement over what reforms are

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