The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms • Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 Created Federal Election Commission; Provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections; Limited presidential campaign spending; Required disclosure of funds; and limited contributions. Around $2,300 per person
LO 9.3 The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms (cont.) • Soft Money Contributions for party building expenses or generic party advertising not subject to contribution limits. • McCain-Feingold Act (2002) bans soft money, increased amount of individual contributions, and limited issue ads.
The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms (cont.) • 527 Groups Independent groups seek to influence the political process but are not subject to contribution limits because they do not directly seek election of particular candidates. • 501(c) AKA Super PACS Allows for unlimited political donations
Citizens United v. F.E.C. • Supreme Court said that limiting corporations/unions on campaign spending was a violation of their first amendment right
Are Campaigns Too Expensive? • Center for Responsive Politics estimated in 2008 that the contests for the presidency and Congress cost over $5 billion. • More congressional incumbents spend, the worse they do. Connected to the fact that the more they spend the tougher their opponent is • Doctrine of sufficiency Spend enough money to get a message across to compete effectively.