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Saturday, August 21, 2004
Hey Ma, Look! Money in Politics (Over $1 Billion)

By Steven Taylor @ 9:30 am


Candidate, Party Spending Tops $1 Billion

Spending by presidential and congressional candidates and the national party committees that support them already tops $1 billion for the 2004 election cycle, with more than two months of campaigning to go.

President Bush alone devoted $209 million to his re-election effort through July, a campaign finance report he filed Friday shows.

The spending by Bush, Democratic rival John Kerry, congressional candidates and national party committees had surpassed $1 billion by the end of June, the period covered by the most recent finance reports many of them filed.

Kerry spent nearly $150 million through June, his most recent finance report to the Federal Election Commission shows. His report covering July was due at the FEC by midnight Friday.

In addition, Senate and House candidates spent $487 million from January 2003 through last June, and national party committees burned through more than $400 million, their reports covering the 18-month period show.

The spending tops mid-election year levels in 2002 and 2000, when national party committees could still raise corporate, union and unlimited donations known as soft money.

As the highlighted lines demonstrated, McCain-Feingold has failed at its most fundamental goal-reducing the amount of money in politics. The sad thing is that these numbers will be used by reformers to argue that more rules are needed, rather than demonstrating the futility of the effort and the perverse effects the rules have on our politics.

If companies will spend milions trying to get us to buy one brand of light beer over another, why is it a shock that copious amounts of cash are spent to influence who governs?

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign: Campaign Finance Reform

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