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“Despite Several Attempts to Regulate Campaign Finance, Money Increasingly Dominates the Us Electoral Process and Is the Main Factor Contributing to a Candidate’s Success.” Discuss.

In: Social Issues

Submitted By bimmybanter
Words 1367
Pages 6
As the statement suggests, several attempts have been made over the last 50 years to regulate the financing of campaigns, which has been criticised for damaging the election process of democracy in the USA for being too expensive and dominant. Earliest reforms in the 1970s include the 1971 Federal Election Act, and famously, the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act, known by many now as FECA. These congressional acts limited the ability of candidates to spend their own money on campaigns, and limited PAC donations to $5,000 per candidate through the creation of the Federal Election Commission. They also introduced the ‘matching funds system’ to this effect. Far more recent reforms have also taken place to further restrict such donations to candidate campaigning, such as the 2002 Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act, also known as ‘McCain-Feingold’ capping the soft money spending by parties and welfare/charity organisations which had increased since the 1970s. This is when money is not directly donated to the candidate and cannot be used for self promotion. The 2002 Act ruled that such organisations can spend up to 49% of their income on parties and campaigns, yet this spending remains undisclosed, allowing anonymity.

This highlights one of the main reasons why such reforms have failed to rectify the issues of campaign financing that remains in contemporary elections – many so-called ‘legal loopholes’ have been found in these congressional acts which have allowed soft money and independent expenditures and donations to campaigns to continue. This anonymity is highlighted through the phenomenon of ‘dark money’ – undisclosed donations from 501© groups and PACS who can “bundle contributions”. Furthermore, the congressional acts of the 1970s have been since challenged through several court challenges, allowed through the constitutional provision of separation of powers,…...

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