The articles I chose focus on congressional elections and campaign funding. The Supreme Court recently lifted the cap on amount donors can contribute in a congressional election. The courts decision threw out the $74,600 limit for donations to political parties and the $48,600 limit for House or Senate candidates in a two-year campaign season. However donors still cannot contribute more than $5,200 to a single candidate per election, but without the overall caps, those who can afford it can have an enormous influence by donating to many candidates.
Donors could contribute up to 3. 6 million dollars by giving to all 435 House candidates and the 33 candidates for Senate seats up for election, as well as each party’s national committees. Under current election laws the parties could redistribute the money, possibly even using the entire amount to benefit one candidate. Critic believe this could lead to a consolidation of political power to a wealthy few, as well as the party’s leaders, resulting in improper influence on Capitol Hill (L. A. Times).
We already know that party officials and candidates will solicit these large contributions from wealthy donors because such contributions will help increase the party’s power, as well as candidates standing among his colleagues. Fund raising to meet the high costs of campaigning is the most important hurdle for any candidate for public office (Dye, 286). Lifting the cap on amount donors can contribute in a congressional election cycle will make fund raising much easier for candidates, but not all candidates will benefit equally. “Look at whoever is most powerful in congress right now and you magnify their power” (L. A.Times).
These influential/powerful members of congress will be able to raise multi-million dollar checks from wealthy contributors which promises to shift power to the political party’s established leaders, who had recently lost ground to outside groups such as the tea party. This could lead to unthinkable campaign costs, which would lead to a consolidation of political power to a wealthy few. “Fat Cats” are preferred donors of candidates. These large donors are the donors whose names are in the candidate’s rolodexes, and they are the ones in attendance when candidates travel around the country holding fundraisers (Dye, 290).
What is it that these large contributors are buying? Public opinion views big money as a major problem in the American Political System. So, one might be quick to think these big money contributors are corrupt and are buying special treatments such as special tax breaks or special federal regulations. Although it might seem like this at first sight what these big money contributors are doing is backing the candidates that they feel have good judgment on issues directly affecting the contributor (Dye, 291). Large contributors also expect to be able to call or visit and present their views directly to “their” officeholders.
These large are key to any campaigns success, but Political Action Committees (PACs) are the most reliable. Political Action Committees (PACs) are formed by corporations and unions, which seek contributions from managers and stockholders. PACs are organized not only by corporations and unions but also by trade and professional associations, environmental groups, and liberal and conservative ideological groups. With donation caps lifted PACs will be more important than ever before due to their capability to pump endless amounts of money into campaigns and candidates.
Regulating campaign finances began back in 1974 when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was created. The FEC is responsible for enforcing limits on individual and organizational contributions to all federal elections, administering the public funding of presidential campaigns, and requiring full disclosure of all campaign financial activity in presidential and congressional elections (Dye, 293). Prior to lifting the cap on the amount donors could contribute in a congressional election cycle there were still many of ways in which individuals and organizations could legally exceed the limits.
In my opinion the FEC needs to go in the other direction and tighten up the amounts that can be contributed and spent on campaigns in general. This would make things much more fare by keeping political power out of the hands of a few wealthy individuals. Mascaro, L (2014, April, 3) Supreme Court Ruling May be Windfall for Political Party Leaders, Latimes. com Memoli, M( 2014, April, 3) Democrats Target Republican Ties to Koch Brothers, Latimes. com