Control of Campaign Abuses

April 18, 1952

Report Outline
Federal Regulation of Campaign Financing
Proposals for Revising Campaign Controls
Measures to Improve Conduct of Campaigns

Federal Regulation of Campaign Financing

New Bills to Revise Laws on Election Practices

Far-Reaching revision of federal statutes governing campaign contributions, expenditures, and practices is proposed in a bill introduced in the House on Apr. 10 by Rep. Mansfield (D, Mont.), and similar proposals are to be made in a bill which the Senate Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections is preparing for introduction in the upper house. Although final action on such highly controversial legislation is not to be anticipated before adjournment of the 82nd Congress, the subject with which it deals will be constantly before the public between now and the November election.

The current effort to assure more effective policing of campaigns for federal office was sparked by the Senate subcommittee's investigation of heavy expenditures in the 1950 senatorial contest in Ohio and of various abuses in the 1950 senatorial contest in Maryland. With the prospect that this year's general election campaign will set new records for political spending, and with indications that it may be tarred by more than the usual admixture of smear tactics, it is likely that the need to overhaul the Federal Corrupt Practices Act and the Hatch (Clean Politics) Act will again be forcefully demonstrated.

Failure of Previous Moves to Effect Wide Reforms

Congressional committees have repeatedly described present election regulations in such terms as “utterly inadequate” and “a hodgepodge of inconsistency and confusion”. Some piecemeal changes have been made, but a bill to effect a thoroughgoing revision of the existing laws, sponsored in 1947 by members of the Senate committee that had investigated campaign expenditures of the previous year, was still bottled up in committee when the 1948 election came along. Whether the new movement for full revision, almost certainly too late to accomplish anything before the forthcoming presidential contest, will fall victim to the inertia likely to overtake such movements after an election may depend on developments in the 1952 campaign.

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
Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and Elections