Campaign finance reform is killing the political parties

By on September 4, 2012

Cleta Mitchell looks at a possible unintended consequence of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms: while the law “was intended to diminish the role of money in campaigns…it has instead had the effect of diminishing the parties themselves.”

“The act barred national political parties from using money not subject to federal limits, a prohibition that included spending on state and local races and on issue advocacy. Money will find its way into campaigns, though, and so it simply began to flow around the parties instead of into them…  The court reaffirmed the First Amendment rights of independent groups and citizens—but not of political parties.”

“The 2012 GOP platform calls for repeal—an important step in the right direction. But it isn’t enough. Congress should also repeal the limits established in 1974 (with amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971) on what parties can spend in coordination with their nominees. And lawmakers should also rescind the aggregate contribution limits ($117,000 total in 2011-12) that a donor can give to all parties and candidates in an election cycle, of which only $46,200 can be given to all federal candidates combined.”

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