Campaign finance laws and regulations should be made less strict

Campaign Finance Law and Regulation Should be Made Less Strict
Campaign Finance Laws and Regulations Should be Made Less Strict
Ideally, election campaigns are an expensive affair in countries all over the world, and
efforts to regulate the amount of money political parties and candidates use during electioneering
periods are increasingly becoming popular. Ever since President Theodore Roosevelt signed into
law the 1907″s Tillman Act, regulation of campaigning finances has remained a contentious
issue. Over the last century, Congress has passed several other laws to regulate the amount of
money used in federal campaigns. However, the creativity of politicians and judicial deflection
always limit the success of the laws. For instance, in the United States, there is little evidence to
show that such laws achieve their intended goals. Consequently, both the federal candidates and
the courts have ignored them despite pressure from activist groups such as Common Cause and
Citizens United. Notably, courts have previously found US campaign finance regulation to have
infringed on the First Amendment rights, slowing down grassroots political involvement, and
even distorting entire political processes. The most prominent case on campaign finance
regulation happened in 1976 when the Supreme Court, in the Buckley vs. Valeo suit, ignored the
many issues that the Federal Election Campaign Act that Congress had wanted to regulate and
considered the First Amendment rights important to the campaigns. The court overlooked the
main reasons Congress had chosen to regulate federal campaign finances, including corruption,
power of money, the need for politicians to declare their source of campaign money, and the
need to equalize spending, leaving the cost of campaigns to increase dramatically (Ortiz, 1998).
In this regard, since the Supreme Court already set the precedence that some of the regulations
adversely affect the electoral process, the best approach that the government can undertake is to
lift financial regulations of the campaign process.
According to Stevens (2000), one fact that the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
should understand is that money will always find its way into the processes of politics. In
addition, campaigns have only become more expensive over the years. Therefore, the idea of
campaign finance laws should not limit what party or candidate should receive or give how
much, but rather monitor the transparency of their spending.
Ideally, FEC regulates campaigning money by insinuating that politicians spend excess
money, but does the commission compare this expenditure? The media reinforces this view by
using huge, strong phrases such as ‘amasses a war chest,’ ‘NGOs pour millions,’ ‘money out of
control, ‘ among others. For instance, during the 1994 2-year electioneering period that set a
record for money spent on campaigns, all Congressional candidates used 590 Million dollars.
Yet that amounted to only $3 per qualified voter at the time since the amount was spread over all
Congressional candidates. In contrast, Procter & Gamble’s media advertisement expenditure was
more than 590 Million dollars (Smith, 1995). This is a clear indication that curtailing politicians’
use of money denies them visibility from the electorate by limiting their ability to advertise and
travel expansively. Consequently, such politicians get inadequate political mileage, which
negatively impacts the voter’s ability to make informed decisions due to inadequate information.
Certainly, spending less than $10 per eligible voter in every electioneering period does not
constitute a calamity necessitating government intervention.
Still, money does not compromise the country’s democracy as campaign finance
reformers make it appear. Although a financially unstable candidate may likely fail to win
elections, it does not mean that the candidates with the huge amount of money will emerge the
victors. Incumbency, studies have shown, is the greatest predictor that a politician will win,
which means that limiting spending puts the challenger of an incumbent at a disadvantage. An
incumbent who spends ‘more than is required’ would be exhibiting signs of trouble with the
electorate (Evrenk, 2011). In this regard, incumbent Congressmen who would come up with a
motion to limit campaign spending would be acting for their ulterior motives. Overall, money
enhances the chances of a challenger beating the incumbent, and it is not easy to make out what
the campaign finance laws and regulations are all about.
Likewise, growth in spending does not alter the democracy of the political process.
Notably, wealthy people have always had an advantage over poor people in elections, and there
is not a single democratic electioneering period where the low class has had a level playground
with the rich. When the FEC works hard to regulate the amount of money that organizations,
individuals, corporations, and groups can contribute to political parties or candidates, it is just
searching for the positive influence that never existed. Donations to politicians have always
existed for decades. For instance, August Belmont and Thomas Ryan contributed more than
600000 dollars to Democrat’s 1904 campaign fund. Still, over 20% of eligible voters donate to a
PAC, candidate, or political party in the current era, a proportion that is much higher than in the
early 20th century (Library of Congress, 2010). Therefore, it is wrong to limit campaigning
finances that an entity can donate to their favorite contenders since it is undemocratic and creates
an even wider gap between the moneyed and the average political contenders.
On the other hand, however, the unique characteristics of money have far larger effects
than the argument over money in politics reveals. There is a way in which the problem of
campaign funding is a relatively easy one due to the special properties of money. Payment of
money to influence a person’s judgment or shift the allegiance of someone in a position of public
trust is conduct that has been condemned since the dawn of civilization. This criticism, along
with the understanding that money has the potential to seduce people to deviate not only from
their ethical obligations but also from their own best interests, has resulted in a trend in our
society that views money as the source of all evil, to the degree that campaign financing
strategies are corrupt in the predictable sense.
Moreover, using the government’s legal, financial, and institutional assets for campaign
goals when they are not permitted by law is another reason why campaign finance laws should
be implemented. The use of administrative resources during democratic processes is common,
even in nations with a long history of free and fair elections, making it one of the most
problematic and recurring difficulties in campaign finance regulation and law enforcement.
Misuse of public funds is especially harmful since it usually helps the incumbent candidate,
putting them at an unfair advantage over their challengers. If the government resource
exploitation is addressed through formal regulations, the media and civil society would be
vigilant in monitoring compliance to ensure that the state institutions in charge of regulating and
administering the electoral campaign laws treat all candidates and parties equally, fairly, and
impartially. The government’s political will remains a critical aspect in ensuring democratically
free and fair elections and successfully implementing measures to avoid the misappropriation of
its resources.
Overall, whether or not campaign finance laws and regulation is constitutional has
emerged to be a terrible policy. Campaigns were mostly uncontrolled for most of our history, yet
democracy survived and thrived. However, with the implementation of the Federal Elections
Campaign Act and comparable government restrictions, special interest groups have increased
their power, voter turnout has decreased, and incumbent politicians have become more difficult
to beat. Challengers have had to spend a lot of time looking for money because of the low
contribution limitations. Still, ordinary persons have been taken into court for giving out
handmade fliers, while commercial and professional organizations have been prohibited from
airing endorsements of their preferred candidates. Overall, there is a need for the government to
revisit this decision of campaign funding limitation to ensure that all candidates have an equal
opportunity of amassing enough money for their campaign drives.
Evrenk, H. (2011). Why a clean politician supports dirty politics: A game-theoretical explanation
for the persistence of political corruption. Journal of Economic Behavior &Amp;
Organization, 80(3), 498-510.
Library of Congress. (2010). Presidential Election of 1904: A Resource Guide (Virtual Programs
& Services, Library of Congress). Retrieved 29 April 2022, from
Ortiz, D. (1998). The Democratic Paradox of Campaign Finance Reform. Stanford Law Review,
50(3), 893.
SMITH, B. (1995). Faulty Assumptions and Undemocratic Consequences. Campaign Finance
Regulation. Retrieved 29 April 2022, from
Stevens, G. (2000). Politics, economics, and investment: Journal Of International Money And
Finance, 19(2), 153-183.

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