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Young Elephant
Monday, May 3, 2004
More Evidence that Campaign Finance Laws Don’t Work

By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

The real irony here is that both Bush and Kerry chose not to adhere to the spending caps during the primary, which is a process that is supposed to encourage small donors (because agreeing to the cap means getting federal matching funds from the feds for small donations): Small Donors Grow Into Big Political Force.

From the ability to finds ways around campaign finance laws (e.g., the 527s and BCRA), to the fact that the stated goals of campaign finance laws don’t appear to come to pass (FECA was supposed to reduce the amount of money in politics, but it has steadily climbed upward since its initiation), one would think that policy-makers and analysts would see what a sham these laws are. Instead we ended up with the First Amendement-bending BCRA.

Campaign finance legislation is almost always motivated by the misguided notions that 1) money in politics is bad (it’s not, it is a neutral fact of life), 2) that money can be taken out of politics (it can’t-politics is, by definition, about money), and 3) that good intentions trump reality (they don’t).

Further, the laws tend to forget the idea that giving money to campaigns is a mode of participation, as the cited WaPo piece illustrates.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign
  • Outside the Beltway linked with Taking the Politics out of Politics
  • The American Mind linked with The Real Demon of Campaign Finance "Reform"

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