Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002 assisted in stemming out cash flows to political parties. However, these contributions have resurfaced in a new channel called 527s political systems. The 527s groups borrowing its name from a tax code section are free to participate in efforts to mobilize voters by supporting the election or defeat of a particular presidential candidate. There are no limits to which theses grows cab reach in contribution.
These groups continued to actively participate in 2008 presidential elections despite the Federal Election Commission findings of malpractices during the 2004 presidential election. These groups had raised over $77 million by January 2008 for the presidential elections according to CFI. Despite the federal FEC laws, the 527 groups spent heavily to influence presidential primaries in the 2008 presidential elections similar what happened during presidential elections of 2004.
However, Barrack Obama’s campaign fundraising team had requested his campaign donors to shun 527 groups according to a Washington Post issue on May 14, 2008. Other soft money democratic financiers such as the Progressive Media USA significantly scaled down their support at the request of the then presidential nominee. In order to curb the influence of independent groups in presidential elections, legislation should be enacted to ensure that such participations adheres to the federal laws on campaign financing stating the limit of contribution they are allowed to reach.
There is need for a federal campaign finance enforcement unit to enforce the federal laws on campaign financing. FEC are mandated by campaign finance laws to regulate, investigate, appeal for court rulings and verify public funds for presidential election campaigns. However, this body has been unable to enforce these regulations leading to the malpractices observed during the presidential primaries . The following section examines the effectiveness of campaign financing in answering questions of fair presidential elections.
These questions include; would presidential campaign funding level political playing group? Would campaign financing promote market ideas and advance aid free speech? How would campaign funding reduce corruption? There are varied opinions in answering these questions. Proponents of campaign funding argue that campaign financing would help solve the problems addressed by these questions. They argue that campaign funding would level the play ground by ensuring that candidates with desirable leadership qualities but with little resources are given equal opportunity.
Well moneyed individuals would therefore not use their fortune to influence the election campaign process. Campaign funding makes election campaign competitive and therefore injecting additional impetus in the process by encouraging new ideas. Financing campaigns would also ensure free speech and advocates for broad marketplace ideas. It would also reduce the level of corruption by discouraging the participation of special interest groups in financing presidential election campaigns. This will ensure that policy making decisions are free from interference by these groups.
On the other hand, a number of anti campaign funding advocates argue that there are several means through which presidential candidates can spend. They argue that campaign finances limit speech by controlling the expenditure of presidential campaigns. This is not the case when presidential candidates raise funds through their own independent sources. On the issue of corruption, these reformers argue that special interest groups still influence presidential election campaign despite its abolition . Conclusion
There is no doubt that money plays a very influential role in presidential election campaigns during this period of modern politics. Election campaigns are increasingly become expensive with every election year with presidential elections costing millions of dollars. These funds are needed to pay staff, radio and television advertising. To protect presidential candidates from special interest groups, the federal government should ensure strict adherence to campaign finance regulations so that the integrity and credibility of the institution of the presidency is protected.
Such regulations would in the overall transform politics to citizen centered. Laws should be enacted to promote internet fundraising from small donor groups to increase the level of participation of in the electoral process and therefore advance democracy.
Appleman, Eric M. (2007). Presidential Campaign Finance. Retrieved on 6th March, 2009 from http://www. gwu. edu/~action/2008/presfin08. html Federal Election Commission (1996). Public Funding of Presidential Elections. Retrieved on 6th March, 2009 from http://www. fec. gov/pages/brochures/pubfund. shtml