Money in Politics

April 15, 1940

Report Outline
Current Efforts to Regualate Campaign Funds
Expenditures in Presidential Campaigns
Sources of Political Campaign Funds
Proposed Reforms in Campaign Financing
Special Focus

Current Efforts to Regualate Campaign Funds

Proposals to Limit Campaign Gifts and Expenditures

The hatch bill to prohibit “pernicious political activities” by state employees paid with federal funds, passed by the Senate last month and now awaiting action by the House, contains a number of provisions which, if finally approved, will have a vital bearing on the methods employed in financing the 1940 presidential campaign. Under the terms of the bill, (1) individual contributions to political campaign funds would be limited to $5,000 in any one year, (2) persons holding or seeking federal contracts would be forbidden to contribute, (3) state or local officeholders employed on projects financed with federal funds would be forbidden to coerce other employees to make contributions, and (4) expenditures of party committees in presidential campaigns would be limited to $3,000,000.

The proposal to limit individual campaign contributions to $5,000, offered by Senator Bankhead (D., Ala.) in an effort to make the Hatch bill unacceptable to a majority in the Senate, was approved by the upper house, 40 to 38, after a previous amendment by Bankhead to limit contributions to $1,000 had been defeated, 36 yeas to 45 nays. Twenty Democratic senators who voted in favor of the $5,000 limitation voted against final passage of the bill. No limitation on size of individual contributions is now imposed by federal law.

An amendment by Byrd (D., Va.), prohibiting campaign contributions by individuals or firms receiving or negotiating for contracts with the federal government, was accepted by the Senate without a record vote. At the same time, the upper house approved an amendment by Neely (D., W. Va.), to strike a blow at “Two Per Cent Clubs” in West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, and other states, which impose assessments upon salaries of public employees. The amendment forbids any state or local officer or employee “who exercises any function in connection with any activity which is financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States …to coerce, command, or advise” any other officer or employee to make contributions for political purposes.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Campaign Finance
May 06, 2016  Campaign Finance
May 28, 2010  Campaign Finance Debates
Jun. 13, 2008  Campaign Finance Reform
Nov. 22, 2002  Campaign Finance Showdown
Mar. 31, 2000  Campaign Finance Reform
Feb. 09, 1996  Campaign Finance Reform
Mar. 29, 1985  Campaign Finance Debate
Oct. 11, 1974  Campaign Spending in Europe and America
May 03, 1956  Campaign Controls
Apr. 18, 1952  Control of Campaign Abuses
Jun. 05, 1946  Campaign Spending and the Law
Apr. 15, 1940  Money in Politics
Jul. 01, 1931  Revision of Federal Corrupt Practices Act
Dec. 01, 1929  The Vare Case
Apr. 06, 1928  Presidential Campaign Funds
Aug. 17, 1926  Excessive Expenditures in Election Campaigns
Aug. 10, 1926  Illegal and Corrupt Practices in Elections
Jul. 16, 1924  Election Costs and Campaign Contributions
Campaign Finance
Campaign Finance