Campaign Finances

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  • Campaign Finances
    • How Much?
      • Both Obama and Romney spent $1 billion each in 2012 race for the Presidency
        • Begin raising or spending own money just to start the race in the invisible primary
        • Spend a lot in the actual primary
        • Spend even more on the actual election campaign which runs from August to November
          • By August Obama had raised over $300 million and Romney $154 million
    • Why So Much?
      • Rallies and meetings, venues, tours of the states, plane tickets, campaign staff and headquarters, billboards and posters, mail shots and most expensive of all TV and radio ads
      • Raise as much as they can and then spend it order to get ahead, some argue that is buying victory
    • How Is It Done?
      • Their private wealth
        • No limits on what they can spend from their private wealth and Mitt Romney spent a lot of his own money in 2012
      • Contributions from individuals
        • Wealthy individuals can make contributes to the campaign but in 1974 limits were put on this ($1000)
      • Contributions from Corporations or other organisations like businesses or trade unions (generally Democrat)
        • These places gain interest by funding but limited to $5000 in 1974
      • Political Action Committees
        • A way of getting round limitations but the law limits them as well to a maximum of $5000
      • Public money
        • If they rely on small donations from individuals the state will match this by  giving $250 for each small donor
      • Internet mail shots
        • Individual donations via the internet used extensively by Obama
      • The party
    • Does The Law Limit What Can Be Spent?
      • 1971: Federal Election Campaigns Act said that campaigns and PACs must reveal who made the contributions to make it public and open
      • 1974: The main limits were set by the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act which set limits on individual contributions and also business and union contributions
        • Individuals: $1000 Corporate $5000    Overall limits on what campaigns could spend $10 million in primaries and $20 million in the election campaign (been reduced since then)
      • The limits on spending were strengthened in 2002 by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act also known as the McCain-Feingold Act
        • Banned businesses or trade unions from broadcasting ads which mentioned the candidates within 60 days of the election and from paying for issue based ads
        • Banned contributions from foreigners abroad
    • How Campaigns Can Exceed These Limits?
      • 1976 Buckley V Valeo threw out the total limits on total campaign spending set up in 1974
      • August 2010 Citizens United V the FEC the court ruled that it could not stop corporations or unions making contributions to independent groups (not giving to the official campaign)
    • Need For Reform?
      • Attempts at reform
        • Does The Law Limit What Can Be Spent?
          • 1971: Federal Election Campaigns Act said that campaigns and PACs must reveal who made the contributions to make it public and open
          • 1974: The main limits were set by the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act which set limits on individual contributions and also business and union contributions
            • Individuals: $1000 Corporate $5000    Overall limits on what campaigns could spend $10 million in primaries and $20 million in the election campaign (been reduced since then)
          • The limits on spending were strengthened in 2002 by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act also known as the McCain-Feingold Act
            • Banned businesses or trade unions from broadcasting ads which mentioned the candidates within 60 days of the election and from paying for issue based ads
            • Banned contributions from foreigners abroad
      • Only those with money or the ability to raise it stand a chance in elections.
      • Ordinary grass roots candidates no chance because of large sums of money now needed to even participate
      • The dangers of corruption
        • One of Romney's biggest donors in 2012 was Sheldon Adelson and his wife and might expect some help in return for any legal issues he found himself in
      • Undue influence on candidates from those who have paid for their election, rich donors and businesses might expect something in return
    • Arguments Against Limitations
      • Limiting direct spending in political campaigns is against free speech and is unconstitutional
        • Used by the Supreme Court to justify removing limits on the spending activities of super PACs
      • Money alone cannot buy victory the candidate must have personal leadership, the right policies and the support of the people to get elected
      • Money does not favour one party more than the other Obama and Romney spent roughly the same amount
      • PACs are being being replaced by a more democratic form of fundraising internet mail shots
  • Attempts at reform

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