Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform - Campaign Finance Reform Reading...

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Campaign Finance Reform Reading Assignments: Schmidt, Shelley, & Bardes, pp. 186- 191 Campaign Finance Reform as Central Issue In Spring 2002 the debate over Campaign Finance Reform sat at the epicenter of Congressional activity. While Campaign Finance Reform has been a topic of discussion for years, it has not enjoyed such a high degree of attention for at least twenty-five years. Moreover, one of the key legislative proposals for reform, McCain-Feingold, has always been killed by filibusters (twice) or veto (by President George Bush, Sr). This Congressional session for the first time it has a real chance of success. There are a number of reasons for this. First, traditionally, Democrats have been more predisposed to favor campaign finance reform proposals and Republicans have been more opposed. As long as Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the dynamics were stacked against reform. However, the Democrats picked up a few seats in the Senate and they now narrowly control the Senate. This enabled the Democratic leadership to bring it up for vote in the Senate. Second, the fact that many of the most recent campaign scandals involved the Democratic Clinton Administration made it easier for Republicans to consider reform proposals. The Clinton administration was accused of a plethora of sleazy campaign financing escapades (some of these charges made against Clinton were supported by strong evidence, other charges seem more motivated by Republican political maneuvers). The Clinton campaign scandals culminated in the pardon of a tax fugitive Marc Rich whose pardon followed legal - but ethically questionable - campaign contributions to Clinton's wife Hillary in her Senate race and legal but ethically dubious "donations" to the Clinton Presidential library. Third, was the role of Republican Senator John McCain in the process. McCain has championed the issue for some time but it was the national prominence and wide-spread support that he acquired in the course of his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination that gave him the political clout to place the issue at the center of the Senate's agenda this term. Consequently, one key piece of legislation debated this term is McCain-Feingold-Cochran. The final factor that tipped the scales in favor of Campaign Finance Reform was the Enron scandal . Enron gave such a large amount of campaign contributions to President Bush and to many Congressmen (Democrats and Republicans alike) that public outrage at Enron's apparent efforts to buy influence made it politically difficult for Republicans
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and Democrats alike to oppose campaign finance reform. To do so, in the context of the Enron scandal, gave an appearance of political corruption. Even President Bush, who had threatened to veto the bill in the past, indicated that he might sign it. Caveats Before Examining the Current Debate
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course POL 1013 taught by Professor Dr.j.philiprogers during the Spring '05 term at Texas San Antonio.

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Campaign Finance Reform - Campaign Finance Reform Reading...

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