Campaign Finance Reform Essay

The campaign finance system is corrupted. Spending is out of control, and there are various loopholes in federal campaign finance law. Money buys access and influence, which effectively causes the majority of Americans to have no real capacity to influence public policy.
State and federal legislation is needed to fight corruption and unjust influence, to ensure the public’s right to know where a candidate’s money comes from, to enable all candidates to compete equitably in elections, and to allow maximum citizen participation in the political process.
Rock the Vote believes that the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill, in its current state, should be the first piece of legislation signed into law in 2001.
Bolder approaches could include: reducing the duration of political campaigns; requiring television and radio stations to air campaign advertising free of charge as a condition for maintaining their broadcast licenses; barring campaign advertising from the airwaves altogether; or placing strict limits on the amounts of money that can be spent by candidates and any and all of their supporters.
Rock the Vote supports passing comprehensive legislation for meaningful campaign finance reform.

The Mccain-Feingold bill proposes to end the soft money system by prohibiting candidates and national political parties from raising soft money.
Soft money is a financial contribution intended to be used for issues advertising that dies not advocate on behalf of, or against, a specific candidate. Political parties currently use the legality of soft-money donations as a loophole in current campaign finance law, finding ways to channel this money into candidates’ campaigns.

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The McCain-Feingold bill prohibits state political parties from spending soft money on activities which affect federal elections, The Current practice of raising unlimited soft money contributions from contributions, unions and wealthy individuals, and then channeling this money into federal elections, would end. The national parties would be required to raise all of their funds under the limits and restrictions in the law.

Rock the vote advocates the signing the McCain-Feingold bill into law. Caps must be placed on campaign finance spending. Eliminating the soft-money loophole is one way to monitor, and hopefully restrict, the influence of corporate interest on candidates.


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