Politico: Campaign finance laws face a reset

Written by admin on October 13th, 2009

Politico reports the latest on the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on campaign finance laws and the outlook for other court’s rulings on future fund raising.

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The loosening of the rules will inevitably lead to more campaign finance scandals, which have always made for good journalism.

In fact, that’s how campaign finance law began.

In the 1904 presidential campaign, Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World revealed that nearly three-fourths of President Theodore Roosevelt’s $2.2 million campaign war chest came from a handful of corporate chieftains. His Democratic opponent, Alton Parker, raised three-fourths of his money from just two corporate honchos: an industrialist and a banker.

Upon reelection, Roosevelt was embarrassed enough from the scandal to push through the first law banning corporate political donations. He also went on to rail against Big Business, prompting one of his benefactors, steel baron Henry Clay Frick, to gripe: “We bought the son of a bitch, and then he did not stay bought,” according to The Center for Public Integrity’s Buying of the President 2008.

It may seem a stretch to think that the campaign finance rules of today could revert to that period. But it’s not such a long one when the plethora of challenges to the campaign finance laws working their way through the judicial system is taken as a whole.

The Best Government Money Can Buy? is a non partisan documentary film about the links between campaign financing and lobbying.


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