Money and Campaigning

As noted in the text, the cost of running political campaigns has steadily risen with the growth of television. Since federal law limits how much money can be given to individual candidates, the national parties have served as an alternative for large contributors such as wealthy individuals and corporations. So long as the national parties used this money for "soft" activities such as party-building and grassroots organizing (thus, the contributors are often referred as "soft money" contributions), the amount of the contribution was not considered a problem. Over time, however, parties began to find ways to direct their party-building and grassroots operations in ways that helped candidates directly; doing so violated the spirit of the law. This situation led to calls for reforms, which were finally passed by Congress in 2002, taking effect the day after the elections of November 5, 2002. To get a sense of how much money was involved let’s see how much money the Democratic and Republican parties raised over the past decade.

Go to the Campaign Finance Institute and review non-federal (called "soft money") contributions to the Democratic and Republican parties over the past decade at the Federal Election Commission. Review the numbers.

In a democracy, elections are suppose to be open to everyone who is eligible to participate. When large amounts of money flow to political parties and candidates from very few sources, it may seem that the elections are not fair and open to all.

Your assignment is to write a 2 page paper about whether there should be a limit as to how much federal candidates should be able to spend on campaigns? Should federal elections be financed by the government?

(I do not need any sources/references.)

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