Campaign Finance Reform

June 13, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 22
Have efforts to rein in political donations failed?
By Thomas J. Billitteri

Introduction

The McCain-Feingold law, which sought to reduce the influence of money in political campaigns, faces an uphill battle in the Supreme Court, where a conservative majority already has chipped away at the 2003 law, and new cases are in the wings.  (AFP/Getty Images/Karen Bleier)
The McCain-Feingold law, which sought to reduce the influence of money in political campaigns, faces an uphill battle in the Supreme Court, where a conservative majority already has chipped away at the 2003 law, and new cases are in the wings. (AFP/Getty Images/Karen Bleier)

As the 2008 presidential contest continues, the campaign finance system is in upheaval. Six years after Congress passed the landmark Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act to help curb the influence of unregulated "soft" money in politics, the so-called McCain-Feingold law is facing court challenges and persistent claims that it infringes on free-speech rights. Meanwhile, the system of public funding for federal campaigns is teetering. Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama is poised to be the first major-party presidential candidate to bypass the system in a general election. The Federal Election Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws, has been paralyzed by partisan bickering. And spurred partly by the effects of McCain-Feingold and the shortcomings of the public-financing system, candidates have been turning to small donors, who are responding in unprecedented numbers.

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
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Campaign Finance
Campaign Finance
FEEDBACKClose

Suggest a topic here.

Type the characters you see below into the box

Take our survey to help us improve CQ Researcher!

Feedback survey