Although I tried to go for the “fun” post this week by taking a quiz revealing my political stance, I found the quizzes to be too overwhelming. I also didn’t like being labeled into a category where I did not believe all of the fundamental ideas. That said, I decided to look more into the structure of politics to educate myself more on how it all works. The financing of campaigns and the regulations purposed upon it were of particular interest. This has been an issue of much debate as campaign financing has the ability to affect our very democracy, our regulation of corruption, our control over fair elections, the quality of leadership, and our ability to handle current problems.
This lead us to the Americans for Campaign Reform, a group who believes that public funding is “the single most critical long-term public policy issue our nation faces.” To ensure that those in power are elected for the right reasons, rather than just financial support, the Americans for Campaign Reform, supports two forms of legislation. The first piece improves the existing presidential funding system by promoting small donor participation and providing public funding for well-qualified candidates. The second piece allows congressional candidates to run for House and Senate races without needing large contributions or constant fundraising.
Currently, the Federal Election Commission creates and enforces regulations regarding campaign funding. Their website provides access to current statutes and recent legislation. But what I found most interesting was their legislative recommendations. Some of these include electronic filing of senate reports, the authority to create senior executive service positions, and making the administrative fine program for reporting violations permanent. It’s interesting that these do not coincide with the ones suggested for the Americans for Campaign Reform. Although this might be due to the fact that some of their suggestions have already reached the House and the Senate.
Nevertheless, it is nice to see that there has been increased transparency of campaign fundraising. The website linked allows you to break down the sources and the amounts of money contributed in almost every way, even including celebrity endorses. Although the issue of large-scale contributions by PACs is still not resolved, at least there are regulations in place and a source where we can discover more information about campaign funding during elections.