by Anthony Corrado
Experts are predicting a $1 billion 2008 presidential race; the total cost could end up being almost double the $760 million spent by all 2004 candidates. What’s causing this surge in campaign fundraising? Is there a solution to this money race?
by Nick Nyhart
What if House or Senate candidates had a source of disinterested money to run their campaigns? What if they didn’t have to rely on the likes of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff to organize fundraisers and funnel cash their way? What if lawmakers could spend their time talking with constituents instead of well-heeled donors? Clean Elections, publicly financed elections, is a reform that people want, and the states are leading the way.
by David B. Magleby, Kristina Gale, Betsey Gimbel Hawkins, and Richard Hawkins
In spite of the BCRA ban on party soft money, soft money managed to find its way back into the political system, mainly through “527” organizations. During the 2004 presidential and congressional campaigns we saw tremendous growth in the number of these groups, their fundraising and their electioneering activities. Shortly after the 2004 elections, bipartisan legislation to bring “527” organizations within campaign finance laws was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.
by Trevor Potter
This article is the first in a new series of articles on Campaign Finance Reform (CFR) that will be published in this magazine. With Election 2004, the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) completed its first test. There have been positive outcomes, but there are further issues emerging on the way forward in CFR. They include the so-called 527s that saw considerable growth and activity in Election 2004 and, connected to the regulation of these 527s, the Federal Election Commission itself. Another urgent concern is the failing public funding system for presidential candidates.
by Michael J. Malbin
The thirty-year-old system for funding presidential nomination contests that seemed to work well for 20 years is now failing. This year, both major parties’ nominees rejected public matching funds; the legal ceilings for campaign spending are simply too low and inflexible. In addition, the public funding formula has failed to empower average donors, and the Presidential Election Campaign Fund cannot make timely payments because not enough people check the box on their income tax forms to pay for the program. Those who believe the system is worth saving should start thinking about the alternatives, soon.
by Anthony Corrado
The 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) is the most important piece of campaign finance legislation since the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. BCRA addressed the two biggest problems in the campaign finance system by banning the use of soft money in federal elections and placing new restrictions on candidate-specific issue advocacy advertising. On its passage, it was heralded as a major victory by reform advocates. But would the law fulfill its promise? The early returns indicate that BCRA has passed its first major tests (including the legal challenges) and is making a difference in the financing of national elections.