paper 1 total - Balloga 1 Abram Balloga Campaigns and...

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Balloga, 1 Abram Balloga Campaigns and Elections Paper #1 10/5/2006 BCRA and Colorado Campaign Finance In the world of politics, campaign finance is of the utmost importance. An election is virtually a large scale job interview which takes place over the radio, television, the internet, and in the streets. Without money, a candidate has no opportunity to advertise his or herself. Few candidates have the good fortune of prior fame like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those with the most money have a greater capacity to gain name recognition, and favor amongst the constituency. So ensues, come election year, the all important, behind the scenes, battle for campaign donors. This interaction between parties, candidates, and their interest groups inherently comes with a huge potential for corruption. Candidates and parties need money in order to get elected, and interest groups respond to this demand with a supply. But this is a conditional supply, tied to a promotion of their various needs. Donors try to use financial leverage to sway or influence legislative acts. Every vote cast or bill introduced, as a favor to a generous contributor, is a failure of our democracy. Thus, campaign finance reform is a pressing issue in this government which claims to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, is an example of recent attempts to break off direct cash lines between donors and parties/candidates. BCRA essentially banned limitless direct corporate, union and individual “soft” contributions. Now interest groups cannot funnel outrageous amounts of money straight into candidates or parties. This
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Balloga, 2 combats corruption by ‘leading them not into temptation’, so to speak. However, unlimited contribution to non-profit advocacy groups, most notably 527’s, is not regulated under BCRA. So the question arises – what were the effects of BCRA, and are they consistent with the intent of its enactment? Exploring this question, I will analyze the campaign financing of U.S. House Representatives Marilyn Musgrave. Representing Colorado’s 4 th Congressional District, Musgrave is commonly described as being exceptionally conservative, receiving a perfect 100 voting record from the American Conservative Union (vote-smart.org, 9/24/06). Her passion seems to be social issues: gun control, abortion, marriage laws, family values, and government intrusiveness (musgraveforcongress.org, 9/24/06). She has gained much publicity for proposing the Federal Marriage Amendment. By observing Musgrave’s legislative activity, I hope to discover the reasons certain donors offer their support. It may be possible to speculate the degree to which donors benefited for their generosity. Rep. Musgrave’s constituent district is enormous, comprising almost one third of Colorado’s land. This includes virtually everything east of the continental divide, excluding the Denver/Colorado Springs corridor, and the San Louis Valley in southern Colorado. Overwhelmingly rural, Colorado’s 4 th
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