Campaign Finance Reform
(see also Corporate Power & Electoral Reform)
Among all individual donors to political campaigns in the 2000 elections, 99% were white, 75% were women, 83% were over 45, & 80% had incomes of over $100,000 a year. Corporate donations outweighed trade union & liberal PAC donations by a wide margin. Big donors have ready access to Congresspeople, so their opinions are sure to be heard & taken seriously. They do not, of course, necessarily determine their representatives' votes on critical issues.
But as Conservative ex-Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona observed not long before he died, "Senators & representatives faced incessantly with the need to raise money to fuel their campaigns can scarcely avoid weighing every single decision against the question, 'How will this affect my fundraising?', rather than 'How will this affect the national interest?'."
In 2002, the Democrats in Congress who ended up voting to authorize Pres. Bush to invade Iraq at will received an average of nearly $20,000 from the oil & gas industry; those opposed to granting that authorization received an average of $2500.
Campaign Finance Reform is "The one reform that makes all other reforms possible."
On the Web: Specialized Sites
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Joins conservative groups in opposing campaign finance reform, at least in its McCain-Feingold version, as violation of First Amendment.
American Conservative Union. Leading voice, alongside Republican Party, in opposition to campaign finance reform.
Center for Responsive Politics. Nonpartisan nonprofit in Washington that tracks money in politics & its influence on elections & public policy.
Coin-Operated Congress (Mojo Wire's archive on money in politics).
Alterman, Eric. "Nonagenarians against cynicism," Nation (6/165/03):10. Granny D.
Anon. "The uninvited," Progressive (11/00). On electoral & campaign finance reform.
Bibby, John F. "Campaign finance reform: expanding government's role or the parties' role," Commonsense 6,1 (12/83).
Bleifuss, Joel. "Reforming the beast," In These Times (6/24/96). Campaign finance reform in Maine.
Geddis, Andrew C. "Campaign finance reform after McCain-Feingold: the more speech-more competition solution," Journal of Law & Politics 16,3 (sum 2000).
Haddock, Doris. "Courage & conviction: Granny D speaks out," Prism (11-12/00):22-24.
Hamburg, Dan. "Inside the money chase," Nation (5/5/97):23-25. Former Congressman explains how it works.
Hillyer, Quin. "Campaign finance on the way?: Congress struggles to set aside self-interest & partisan bickering to pass new regulations that work," Campaigns & Elections 14,1 (4-5/
Keller, Matt. "Ending greenback politics," In These Times (2/21/00):12.
Levit, Kenneth J. "Campaign finance reform & the return of Buckley vs. Valeo," Yale Law Journal 103,2 (11/93).
Miller, Ellen S. "Laundering money--for real," Nation (5/5/97):
Murphy, Laura W. & Bob Schiff. "The ACLU vs. Public Citizen: a debate on campaign finance," Progressive (12/97).
Neuborne, Burt. "One dollar, one vote?" Nation (12/2/96):21-22.
Nichols, John. "Clean money repo men," Progressive (6/02):27-29. How Massachusetts countered Legislature's refusal to implement voters' endorsement of public funding of campaigns.
Raskin, Jamin B. "Dollar democracy," Nation (5/5/97):11-17.
Rosenkranz, E. Joshua. "Campaign reform: the hidden killers," Nation (5/5/97):16. Blocked in Congress.
In the Library: Non-Fiction Books
BeVier, Lillian R. Campaign Finance "Reform" Proposals: A First Amendment Analysis (Washington: Cato Institute, 1997). Conservative view.
Casper, Barry M. Lost in Washington: Finding the Way Back to Democracy in America (Amherst: U. of Massachusetts, 2000).
Cook, Corey. Campaign Finance Reform (Sacramento: CA Research Bureau, 1994).
Corrado, Anthony. Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1997).
__________. Campaign Finance Reform (NY: Century Foundation, 2000).
Court, Jamie. Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom...and What You Can Do About It (NY: Tarcher/Putnam, 2003).
Drage, Jennifer. Campaign Finance Reform (Denver: National Conference of State Legislatures, 1999).
Hearnson, Paul S. Campaign Finance Reform & Political Parties (Los Angeles: Citizens' Research Foundation, 1998).
Karnezis, Kristine Cordier. Campaign Finance Reform: Public Financing of Elections (Iowa City: U. of Iowa, 1974).
Luna, Christopher (ed.) Campaign Finance Reform (NY: H.W. Wilson, 2001).
Schneider, Jerrold E. Campaign Finance Reform & the Future of the Democratic Party (NY: Routledge, 2002).
Utter, Glenn H. & Ruth Ann Strickland. Campaign & Election Reform: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO, 1997).
Whiting, Meredith & others. Campaign Finance Reform (NY: Conference Board, 1990).