Ed De La Garza
Crystal J. Doucette
Campaign finance reform a sham
Skepticism comes to mind when the issue
of campaign finance reform pops up.
So when the Senate passed the McCain-Feingold
bill last week, many were not even excited, to say the least.
The fact is that the bill will do little
to change the current campaign financing rules. It will provide a few patches
here and there to fix some trouble spots, but most of the areas will remain
Even supporters of the bill acknowledge
that the average voter will see no difference in future political campaigns
once the bill becomes a law.
The bill would end the flow of soft money
from unions, corporations and special interest organizations to national
political parties. It would also force more disclosure on the campaign
process, restrict certain kinds of advertising and ban foreign contributions.
But it would still allow for special interests
to donate up to $5,000 to candidates and would also raise the cap on individual
In short, the bill will not remove money
from politics, but supporters say it's a step in the right direction.
Critics argue the bill will not make money
disappear from the process, just shift it from the parties to the special
interests, which will fall short of being called an actual reform.
Then there are those who argue that putting
restrictions on where the campaign money is spent violates free speech.
The problem rests on the issue that if the bill stipulates the type of
ads that can be paid for with soft money, then that would hinder the free
speech rights of the person sending the message.
The bill had to be rewritten before it
passed the Senate, so the chances of its being rejected are less in the
House, in which many representatives are vowing to defeat it when it reaches
The form this bill takes does not matter.
The most influence will come from the people who have the most money. There
is no other way around that.
So the point of this bill is to please
those who have been crying out loud for some type of campaign finance reform,
but without irking those who actually benefit from the money, who are,
in essence, the same people who are passing the legislation.
That's a shocker.