Kerry Advised: Campaign Finance Reform for Lesser Men


Evading an important part of the goo-goo campaign finance mechanism--public funding of presidential candidates, and the concomitant restrictions--might be necessary in order to save it, argues the New Republic. Excerpts:

[I]n light of the timing of the Democratic convention and the power of the Kerry fundraising machine, some Democratic fundraisers and strategists are floating the idea of forgoing public funds altogether and trying to even the financial playing field through private donations. Last November, when Kerry followed the lead of Howard Dean and opted out of public financing for the primaries, he explained his decision by saying, "I'm not going to fight with one hand behind my back." It was the right sentiment then, and it's the right sentiment now….
The numbers suggest that Kerry could pull it off from a financial perspective. Since effectively clinching the nomination, Kerry has been bringing in more than $30 million a month, with more than a third of it coming from online donations (read: low administrative costs). Based on this track record, the campaign could raise well over $75 million before the election….
If Kerry went the private fundraising route for the general election, donors who gave the maximum contribution during the primary season would be allowed to give again. Kerry would also be able to roll over any remaining primary funds into his general election coffers. His last Federal Election Commission filing, on May 31, showed he had $27.7 million on hand….
There are…a few drawbacks. First, a privately funded campaign fuelled by big checks could be vulnerable to the criticism that it is beholden to special interests. Second, a decision by Kerry to opt out might encourage Bush to opt out as well--and thus initiate a general election fundraising war with no upper limit, a war that Republicans would almost certainly win….In addition, opting out could provoke the ire of campaign finance reformers.
That said, all these dangers are navigable. To avoid the special interest criticism, the campaign could make a big push on the Internet and publicize the proportion of its funds raised through small donations. To limit the enticement for Bush to opt out, as well as resentment within the Democratic Party, Kerry could promise to abide by a self-imposed $75-million cap after the Republican convention….
Finally, as a gesture to the campaign finance community, Kerry could come forward, as Dean did when he opted out of public financing during the primary season, with a campaign-finance reform proposal that he would champion if elected. Kerry would probably want to consider both improving the incentives for candidates to accept public funding and fixing the system's funding mechanism….. Besides, it's not like campaign-finance reformers are going to have much luck advancing their agenda during a second Bush term. The best hope for the future of such reforms is for Kerry to win this election.

NEXT: Chinese Land Grab

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  1. CFR is just a tool to keep the establishment in power. Kerry is establishment, therefore he will not be hindered from spending as much as he can get his hands on. The idea that CFR would make campaigns less corrupt is just silly.

  2. The headline has no relation to the argument being put forth in the story.

  3. Democrats get their money and massive amounts of free advertising in the 'news' media from Jews. Let's not pretend otherwise. The whole purpose of campaign finance reform is to give Democrats an advantage, so of course these 'reforms' will be strengthened under a Democrat president. Likewise talk radio -- one of the few places Gentile voices are heard -- will be outlawed as soon as Democrats get the votes.

  4. So Democrats are weaker on Israel because of their Jewish masters?

    That's some good shit you're smokin', there, dude.

  5. I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that the New Republic has supported most of the campaign finance reform bills that have come down through the years.

    Basically their argument here seems to be it will be best if Kerry makes as many end-runs around the regulations as he can in order to win the election, at which point he will then be in a position to enact yet another campaign finance reform bill -- but this time, a bill to end all bills, so to speak.

    I suppose all this gives job security to people who write articles about campaign finance reform but I can't figure out what good these laws have been to anyone else.

  6. I suppose all this gives job security to people who write articles about campaign finance reform but I can't figure out what good these laws have been to anyone else.

    They've provided employment for hundreds of otherwise unemployable politicians! I mean, if they couldn't be running our lives, what would they do with their time? Probably spend it playing Civilization or SimCity, just to get that little vicarious kick ("Hah! See how you like 100 % taxation, now that I don't have to get reelected, motherfuckers!"). And what would their children do? Think of the children! Always think of the children!

  7. I hope both sides admit this CFR act is crap and scrap it. Other than pissing off Sen. McCain, there can't be any downside to it.

  8. I thought that pissing off Sen. McCain was a feature, not a bug.

    You know that if Kerry gets elected, any follow-on CFR crap will be insanely incumbent-friendly. With the Rehnquist court willing to gut the first amendment as they did for the BCRA, how much worse would the decisions on future laws be if JFK Mark II gets to appoint some justices?


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