In the 105th Congress, the principal reform bills debated on the floor contained neither campaign spending limits nor public funding, reflecting not only the overriding concerns over soft money
and issue advocacy but also the changed political climate since the 1970s.
donations reached their peak in the 2000 election, when
On December 10, the justices split five to four in voting to uphold the heart of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act--the provisions in Titles I and II regulating "soft money
" and "electioneering communications." The Court then achieved near unanimity in "deciding not to decide" the constitutionality of various provisions in Titles III and IV that increase the law's contribution limits for "hard money," require candidates to "stand by their ads" by stating in the ads that they approve their contents, and that allow candidates to spend more money when their opponents spend certain triggering amounts of their personal funds on the campaign.
* What will political parties do with the large sums of soft money
they've already amassed that can't be spent on issue advertising?
Current Federal law bans the use of corporate- or union-donated soft money
for advertisements that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate for Federal office.
The bill's central plank, the ban on soft money
to political parties, is in sync with a long line of U.S.
It was necessary in order to plug this soft money
Debates about soft money
necessarily concern large sums that are often labeled "obscene" by those seeking new regulations.
The proposed Ney-Wynn bill caps soft money
contributions to national party committees at $75,000 and does not change the current unlimited fundraising for state parties or $1,000 hard money limit.
The new bill will ban soft money
. But it will increase the limit on donations to individual candidates.
But in the end, the Democrats and labor have to decide whether it's worth taking a risk to enact a ban on the unregulated "soft money
" now flooding the political system.
There is nothing, in short, that should ever keep you from giving our nation's artists the same respect that you confer upon athletes, astronauts and the purveyors of soft money