Campaign Finance Reform Issues Essay

3052 words - 13 pages

One of the most controversial topics in government today is the debate over campaign finance reform. This is not a new or fresh debate. The battle over campaign finance reform has raged on for years. The original legislation was Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971, and the Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1974. These were the original legislation for campaign finance reform. What these acts did essentially was to establish the role of government in the campaign process. According to the numbers section of the November 1st edition of Time magazine a campaign finance reform bill has been killed without debate for four years. The section then went on to state that Elizabeth Dole removed ...view middle of the document...

" That is where campaign finance reform comes in. It's purpose is to prevent the wealthy and big business from influencing candidates too much and thereby allowing the candidate to focus more on the issues of the common people. What is meant by campaign finance reform is legislation that would regulate the amount of money candidates could receive from individuals, groups, and businesses. The big part of campaign finance reform this bill is the crusade against soft money. Vivica Norvac of Time Magazine best described soft money as, "Soft money--which is given to the party rather than to specific candidates--is being aided by an unlikely new interest group, big donors. Corporate leaders are starting to balk at a system that many view as little more than a party-led protection racket." Soft money is further defined as, "Unlimited contributions that are used for getting out the vote, putting "issue" ads on the air and covering other big expenses" by Norvac. To show an example of how big an item soft money is in the political game Norvac showed the following numbers of top donors by party numbers to better illustrate. "On the side of the democrats --Communication Workers of America Seeking support on issues like raising the minimum wage $525,000 --American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees like C.W.A., wants Gore and Democrats to make organizing workers easier $460,000 --Walter H. Shorenstein and his pac San Francisco real estate magnate and powerful party fund raiser $315,198 --Williams Bailey law firm Personal-injury lawyers want protection from tort reform $315,000 --AT&T wants support in its fight over access to high-speed cable lines $305,350." They being the major part of the total gross donations totaling $24.2 million up 130% from four years earlier, a far greater jump than the G.O.P. has made. The republicans boast the following top donations --AT&T is contributing to both parties for help on contentious telecom issues $527,050 --American Financial Group and Carl Lindner his Chiquita bananas are at the center of a trade dispute with Europe $500,000 --Philip Morris Co. wants protection against more smoking regulation and lawsuits $378,467 --United Parcel Service applauds G.O.P.'s bid to delay new workplace health standards $363,559 --Michael Kojaian and Kojaian Management Corp. Real estate mogul and a fund raiser for Bush $300,000 these totaling with other donations $29.4 million only a 45% increase from four years earlier. All of this money is not regulated and comes from a broad spectrum of donors. As shown in the case of AT&T, many companies are donating large and semi-equal amounts to each party so that regardless which candidate wins their interests are protected. With campaign finance reform defined and illustrated we must now look at some of the reasons why campaign finance reform is such a hot topic who is for campaign finance reform and why they are for it, who is against campaign...

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