R Funding Congressional Campaigns 19972000

After the national conventions, the two major-party candidates can receive equal shares of money from the fund, so long as they agree not to acccpc any other direct contribution;;. Third-party candidates can also qualify for this funding if their party received more than 5 percent of the popular vote in the previous presidential election.

Soft Money and PACS

Most money for election campaign;; comes from private sources rather than public funding. Private sources provide hundreds of millions of dollars for campaigns. These sources include individual citizens, corporations, labor unions, interest groups> and political action committees (PACs). PAOs are organizations set up by interest groups especially to collect money to support favored candidates. FliCA limited direct donations from PACs and other private sources.

To avoid P'iiCA restrictions, candidates can seek soft money contributions. Soft money donations arc given to a political party and not designated for a particular candidate's election campaign. By law this money was supposed to be used for general party building purposes, such as voter registration drives or direct mailings on behalf of the party. Soft money could come from individuals or PACs. lliCA placcd no limits on these contributions and> in the 2002 national elections, they totaled about $500 million.

There is also the issue of money spent by interest groups for radio and television ads that support the group's position on an issue. These ads do not ask people to vote for or against a specific candidate, but they might show a candidate's name or image. They became powerful tools for interest groups to help candidates they liked. PliCA placed no limits on how much money could be spent on such ads.

















$243.9 M


1997-1998 1999-2000


Individuals $490.9 million

Political Action Committees $2^ 3.1 million

CandidaLes $128.9 million

Individuals $490.9 million

Political Action Committees $2^ 3.1 million

CandidaLes $128.9 million

Analyzing Graph*

Spending for House and Senate campaigns has increased during the past several elections. If 34 senators were elected in 2000, approximately how much was spent per Senate seat?

In response to these developments, Congress repeatedly discussed reforming campaign finance laws. Changes, though, were difficult to achieve. PACs gave most of their money to tncunfbcnts—politicians who have already been elected to office. As a resultj, many of these incumbent lawmakers were reluctant to change the rules in ways that might help their opponents in the next election.

Student Web Activity Visi I and click on Student Web Activities— Chapter 10 to learn more aboul paying for elecLion campaigns.

Student Web Activity Visi I and click on Student Web Activities— Chapter 10 to learn more aboul paying for elecLion campaigns.

Campaign Reform

Change came in 2002., however, when Congress passed legislation aimed at better

__ controlling the money flowing into national campaigns. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act—also known as the AicCain-Feingold Act prohibits national political parties, federal officeholders, and federal candidates from raising soft money. The law also places time restrictions on broadcasting political ads. Corporations, unions, and interest groups are banned from running ads aimed at a candidate for federal office within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary clcction. Finally, the law raises the limits on hard money contributions, stating that candidates may collect up to S2,000 per donor in each election. Political parties can collect $25,000 per donor in each year.

Critics of the new law* immediately challenged it as a violation of the lnrst

Amendment rights of free speech. In 2003 the Supreme Court case of McConneU v. Federal Election Commission upheld all the major provisions of the McCain-l<cingold Act as constitutional. The Court stated that it was in the public interest for Congress to limit the size of campaign contributions. Without limits, there would always be the appearance that big donors were able to buy influence with policymakers in ways not available to ordinary citizens.

The Court's decision set the rules for the 2004 elections and beyond. It will at'fccc how candidates go about raising funds. For example^ there will be a new emphasis on getting many small donations rather than a few large ones. As a result, the Internet will play a larger role in political fund raising. The Internet gives politicians and their supporters an inexpensive wTay to quickly rcach millions of people who might be willing to make the smaller contributions.

{¡CS&QZ&ES^ Identifying Mow did the

McCam-Feingold Act change campaign finance?



Checking for Understanding

1. Key Temis Use the following terms in sentences related to campaign finance: propaganda, soft money, political action committee (PAC), incumbent.

Reviewing Main Ideas

2. Identify What federal agency administers clcction laws and monilors campaign spending?

3. Describe How do presidential candidates qualify for federal oloction funds? How do third parly candidal.es qualify for federal election funds?

Critical Thinking

4. Making Judgments Explain the two sides in the campaign spending reform issue. With which side do you agree? Explain your position.

5. Summarizing Information On a graphic organizer like the one below, list the effects resulting from the high costs of modern poli Lie a I campaigns.


Analyzing Visuals

6, Summarize Review the graphs ahout funding the congressional campaigns from 1997 Lo 2000 on page 249. How much money was spent on congressional campaigning in 1999-2000?


7. Interview Con Lac I your local representative and your senators. Find out how much money they spenL on Iheir lasL campaigns. Who contributed the most to their campaigns?

Pfciclicf? key skills wilh GIkhcdb's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM, Level 1.

Candidates for office publish many campaign materials.

Distinguishing Fact From Opinion

Why Learn This Skill?

A politician is behind the podium giving a campaign speech. The speaker probably offers some facts and some opinions. While you may value the speaker's opinion, you still want to know which is which so you can know whom to support. Distinguishing facts from opinions will help you make a more informed decision—the one that is right for you.

Learning tlie Skill

When learning about candidates, you must determine if they support the things you think are important. To distinguish facts from opinions in this circumstance and others, follow these steps:

♦ Identify statements that can be checked. Could you verify the information in a news or library source, for instance? If so, it is a fact.

♦ Identify statements that cannot be verified. These statements may be based on feelings or prejudices. They often make predictions or contain superlative words such as "best" or "worse." These kinds of statements are opinions.

♦ Look for "clue words." The speaker or writer may identify opinions with expressions such as "I think," "in my view," "we believe," and so on.

Practicing the Skill

On a separate sheet of paper, identify each of the newspaper editorial statements below as fact or opinion.

O Mayor C.T. Hedd has more charisma than any mayor Park City has ever had. Q During Mayor Hedd's first term, a total of

12 new corporations moved to the city. © The new jobs created by these corporations are the most important jobs ever offered to the Park City workforce.

O City tax revenues have risen by 9.6 percent since Mayor Hedd took office. 0 It is the official view of this newspaper that Mayor Hedd's foresight and charm are directly responsible for Parf< City's growth. O Mayor Hedd deserves reelection.

-Applying the Skill-

Distinguish the facts from the opinions expressed in an editorial you lind in a recent newspaper or magazine. Make a list of arty clue words that identify opinions. Tell how you idcniilicd opinions ihai did not conlain clue words.

Pfciclicf? key skills wilh GIkhcdb's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM, Level 1.

Candidates for office publish many campaign materials.

Internet Entrepreneurship Survival Guide

Internet Entrepreneurship Survival Guide

Master The Backwoods of Internet Entrepreneurship All Distilled into a Single Most Powerful Guide! Like a long pole, that can shift a great weight with little effort such is the case with succeeding in business. Your chances of succeeding-as an 'army of one' fall somewhere between zip, zilch and nill.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment