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The Failures of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act

September 29th, 2007

This article by Aaron Turpen of MilitantLibertarian.org points out some of the problems with the McCain-Feingold act that was passed back in 2002. While the style of this piece might seem a little “ranty”, I agree with the general gist of it.

In general, campaign finance “reform” has done nothing to stop political corruption and is actually hurting independent candidates and alternative parties like ours by severely restricting contributions from individuals. Meanwhile, the Big Two parties continue to get around the laws by funneling millions of dollars through their PACs (Political Action Committees) and other affiliated organizations. These stupid laws need to be repealed and full rights of political free speech should be given back to the people.


The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 (CFRA) was billed as the solution to the “undemocratic, corrupting influence of money on politics”. Nevermind that this has been the political influence of choice throughout American (and world) history.

So-called “soft money” was to be limited and regulation of “electioneering communications” (read: free political speech) was to be stopped.

Enter the “527″ group (so-called because of the tax exemption type given to them), which flooded the political scene in 2004. They ran ads the parties would have considered too “racy” or “personal”, spent money like drunken sailors on everything political, and basically bypassed the entire CFRA and all of its provisions.

While so-called “soft money” was limited in 2004, the Center for Responsive Politics shows in their analysis that individual contributions jumped 75% from the 2000 Presidential elections, Political Action Committee contributions jumped 30% and candidate self-funding dropped by 25%.

The biggest jump in spending types in 2004 versus 2000, however, were in the “other” category, where 527 groups were measured. This number doubled.

So what does all this mean for the McCain-Feingold Act? Will the Campaign Finance Reform Act be repealed as a failure?

Apparently not. White House spokesman Scott McClellan, referring to 527 groups, said they would look into “shutting down all of this activity by these shadowy groups”. So now it’s a “War on Political Speech” I guess.

The Supreme Court is no help either. Apparently Hustler Magazine is allowed to publish whatever they’d like, rap artists are able to spout all the obscenities they want in their lyrics about cop-killing, but just you try and say something political… that’s against the McCain-Feingold Act… that’s not covered in the First Amendment according to the Supremes.

Welcome to the New Amerika.



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