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The Reforms of the 1970s

The Reforms of the 1970s - election campaigns candidates...

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The Reforms of the 1970s The 1970s saw the first significant campaign finance reforms. In 1971, Congress passed the Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA), which began to substantially regulate campaign contributions. It limited spending on media advertisements, required disclosure of all donations over $100, and restricted the amount of money candidates could donate to their own campaigns. Watergate and the 1974 Reforms The Watergate scandal exposed a wide range of illegal activities being performed by the Nixon Administration, among them campaign finance law violations. For example, the Nixon reelection campaign had a large “slush fund” of cash to be used for covert purposes. In response to these revelations, Congress toughened campaign finance regulations by amending FECA and by doing the following: Creating the Federal Election Commission, an independent regulatory agency that monitors campaign finance Introducing public financing for presidential campaigns (both primary and general
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Unformatted text preview: election campaigns); candidates who qualify can receive assistance in paying for their campaigns • Imposing limits on campaign spending by presidential candidates who accept federal funding • Limiting contributions to campaigns (no person can donate more than $2,000 to a candidate in an election and no more than $25,000 total to all campaigns; political groups were limited to $5,000 per candidate) • Requiring that campaigns disclose all contributions In 1976, Congress allowed businesses, unions, and political groups to form political action committees (PACs) in order to give money to candidates. PACs are significant because they allow a variety of organizations to donate money to campaigns. Also, although each person can only donate $5,000 to a PAC, he or she may donate $5,000 to as many PACs as he or she wishes. The PACs can then, in turn, donate the money to the campaigns....
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