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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Current Events- Campaign Funding

Sami, Emily and Danielle

Campaign Finance Reform

            Without money involved in political elections, the candidates might as well throw the towel in and not even run.  Funding for the elections has increased throughout the years and it has affected the way candidates run for political offices

            The Democratic Party has raised the most money bringing in the large sum of $587.7 million but has spent $502.8 which so early could be a problem for funding in the crucial months.  The Republican Party to this date has raised $524.2 million dollars and they have spent a total of $395.million. They are taking a more “conservative” side on spending for this election to take over the position of President of the United States.

A public funding law was passed in 1966, but was later repealed. Following that, the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (FECA) and the Revenue Act (establishing the Presidential Fund and allowing taxpayers to designate one of their tax dollars to finance presidential elections) were passed in 1971. It was not until 1974, however, that amendments to the FECA established the system and spending limits for publicly financed presidential elections. Congress passed a law in 1994 increasing the individual tax check off amount from $1 to $3 where it is currently at.  As of April 2012, the Commission has certified $35.7 million in public funds in connection with the 2012 presidential election. The 2012 entry will be updated as additional public funds are certified.  An argument of the amount of money a political candidate can raise is that if one certain party raises so much money from a private fund that the “race” could be unfair because of the private spending.

The candidates are using a majority of their money for political advertisement.  Most candidates have discovered a “loophole” and claim that their political advertisement isn’t actual a political ad but a message to viewers that just so happens to reflect the views of a certain party or candidate.  The problem as stated before is the candidate’s are having private funders and are spending more than ever in running for office. 

In the past, the amount of money spent was not near as much money as the candidates are raising and spending on the elections.   For the past 9 elections he political parties combined are spending respectively (in millions): 1976---$171, 1980---$162, 1984---$202, 1988---$202, 1988---$324, 1992---$331, 1996---$426, 2000---$529, 2004---$881 and in 2008---$1553.  In the election today, it is not over and the more in competitive the competition gets the more money the candidates will raise and the more political ads will be everywhere. 

Political Action Committee or otherwise known as PAC is any group in the United States that campaigns for or against any political party of political candidate.  The group is considered a PAC nationally when it receives or spends $1000 towards or for a specific party which is a statement for the Federal Election Campaign Act.  At the state level to be considered a PAC relies on each individual state’s laws and regulations. 

            The PACs are causing major problems for the elections, as stated before the candidates or political parties are finding many “loopholes” to raising/spending over the money they are supposed to be raising legally.  The good thing about these PACs is that the political candidates don’t have to raise the money all by themselves.  These groups have a specific motive and with this motive they are receiving money and making the fact know that a certain candidate is for/against their motivation for the group.

            Controversy is spreading around about the PACs because many think that the PACs are going against certain state election laws because they are keeping their donor name a secret.  As of the 2012 election 313 groups organized as Super PACs had received $98,650,993 and spent $46,191,479. This means early in the 2012 election cycle, PACs had already greatly exceeded total receipts of 2008. These figures don’t include the groups that were supposedly “nonprofit.” 

            The big election years come every four years, but the funding for the parties does not only occur once every four years.  The parties are looking for more ways to get money to spark their campaign for the next election, as well as the PAC groups finding more reasons to support a certain party or candidate.  There is one thing certain for the political parties and PACs --- election year is every year in terms of raising and spending money.

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