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The Weakest Link in Campaign Finance Reform
February 16, 2002
by kentuck

The dust is beginning to settle on the recently passed Campaign Finance Reform bill. The benefits to each Party are being weighed in open discussion. The majority opinion of most our nation's editorialists seems to be that it favors Mr. Bush and the Republican Party.

As proof of their argument, they point out that Mr. Bush had 61,000 contributors that gave the $1000 limit in the last election cycle. Now that the limit has increased to $2000, Mr. Bush has a voter base worth more than $120 million dollars. He will again have no need for any federal funding. His war chest will permit him to flood the media markets.

Also, will the CFR legislation prevent Mr. Lay from bringing in $100,000 at the last minute for another recount? Will Texas oilmen still be able to come into New York and spend $2 million at the last moments of a campaign? Will a totally unidentified "special interest" group be able to come into California and attack the Governor for his stance on energy price gouging? Will these types of incidents be ended? If so, then some will argue that CFR is a success.

So where is the weakest link? If millionaires can no longer contribute a million dollars to a federal candidate, is that not good? Is it not good that Federal candidates cannot flood the media markets in the last 60 days with special interests monies? And that is where we find the loophole.

What is to stop the millionaire contributors from donating their million dollars to 50 different state campaign operations? And what is to stop state candidates from receiving the big contributions and running campaigns that mirror national issues and those of candidates running for President? Would not the ads be run at the state levels anyway? After all, political ads are not run only in Washington, D.C.

What is to stop the NRA, for example, from giving to strategic races in different states? What is to stop national parties from moving monies around to the states that they see as more important? Will not campaign money be simply transferred to state Parties, rather than national Party operations? Could not the excess funds in one state be transferred to another state, or even contributed to a special interest such as the NRA? And will not the end result be the same? Have we created a maze that will make it virtually impossible to follow the money?

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