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Inside the Campaign Finance Battle: Court Testimony on the New Reforms

Overview

In 2002 Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the first major revision of federal campaign finance law in a generation. In March 2001, after a fiercely contested and highly divisive seven-year partisan legislative battle, the Senate passed S. 27, known as the McCain-Feingold legislation. The House responded by passing H.R. 2356, companion legislation known as Shays-Meehan, in February 2002. The Senate then approved the House-passed version, and President George W. Bush signed BCRA into law ...

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Inside the Campaign Finance Battle: Court Testimony on the New Reforms

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Overview

In 2002 Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the first major revision of federal campaign finance law in a generation. In March 2001, after a fiercely contested and highly divisive seven-year partisan legislative battle, the Senate passed S. 27, known as the McCain-Feingold legislation. The House responded by passing H.R. 2356, companion legislation known as Shays-Meehan, in February 2002. The Senate then approved the House-passed version, and President George W. Bush signed BCRA into law on March 27, 2002, stating that the bill had "flaws" but overall "improves the current system of financing for federal campaigns."

The Reform Act was taken to court within hours of the President's signature. Dozens of interest groups and lawmakers who had opposed passage of the Act in Congress lodged complaints that challenged the constitutionality of virtually every aspect of the new law. Following review by a special three-judge panel, the case is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.

This litigation constitutes the most important campaign finance case since the Supreme Court issued its decision in Buckley v. Valeo more than twenty-five years ago. The testimony, submitted by some of the country's most knowledgeable political scientists and most experienced politicians, constitutes an invaluable body of knowledge about the complexities of campaign finance and the role of money in our political system. Unfortunately, only the lawyers, political scientists, and practitioners actually involved in the litigation have seen most of this writing —until now.

Ins ide the Campaign Finance Battle makes key testimony in this historic case available to a general readership, in the process shedding new light on campaign finance practices central to the congressional debate on the reform act and to the landmark litigation challenging its constitutionality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I nside the Campaign Finance Battle is very highly recommended —and as is timely as it is a welcome addition to Political Science Studies reference collections and reading lists." — The Midwest Book Review

"This book provides a comprehensive source book for opinions —from academics, politicians and reform advocates —on the merits of campaign finance reform in the US." —Michael C. Munger, Duke University, Political Studies Review, 1/1/2004

"If nothing else, lay readers of this book will come away with a clearer understanding of campaign finance, but political scientists, political practitioners, and lawyers will be its main beneficiaries." —William C. Loughan, Ohio Wesleyan University, Perspectives on Political Science, 1/1/2004

"...the editors' balanced selection and refusal of commentary allows readers to evaluate the evidentiary record themselves guided only by the enduring themes around which the selections are organized.... Recommended." —T. Fackler, University of Texas at Austin, Choice, 12/1/2004

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815715832
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2003
  • Pages: 333
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Corrado is the Charles J. Dana Professor of Government at Colby College and a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is a coeditor of Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook and coauthor of The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook, both published by Brookings. Thomas E.Mann is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the W. Averell Harriman Chair. He is a frequent media commentator on American politics. Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center; a member of Caplin and Drysdale's Washington, D.C. office; and a nonresident senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Note
Introduction 1
Pt. I Political Parties
The Rise of Soft Money 17
Parties versus Interest Groups 40
Why Soft Money Has Not Strengthened Parties 49
Why Soft Money Has Strengthened Parties 69
The Need for Federal Regulation of State Party Activity 97
A Senate Democrat's Perspective 116
A Senate Republican's Perspective 119
Mobilizing Voters: The Coordinated Campaign 122
State Party Activity and the BCRA 125
State Party Activity under the Levin Amendment 137
Role of Federal Officials in State Party Fund-Raising 143
Pt. II Issue Advocacy
Party and Interest Group Electioneering in Federal Elections 147
Electioneering Communications in Recent Elections: The Case for a New Standard 175
Issue Advocacy and the Integrity of the Political Process 189
Rebuttal to the Expert Reports of Kenneth M. Goldstein and Jonathan S. Krasno and Frank J. Sorauf 201
Rebuttal to Gibson 221
The National Association of Manufacturers' Advertising Helps Lobby Congress 237
Why the Chamber of Commerce Runs Issue Ads 242
How the Reform Act Adversely Affects the Associated Builders and Contractors 246
A Practitioner Looks at How Issue Groups Select and Target Federal Candidates 250
How Issue Ads Are Designed to Target Federal Candidates without "Express Advocacy" 252
A Consultant's View on How Issue Ads Shaped a Congressional Election 254
Pt. III Public Opinion and Corruption
Public Attitudes toward Campaign Finance Practice and Reform 259
Public Views of Party Soft Money 266
The Reform Act Will Not Reduce the Appearance of Corruption in American Politics 270
Rebuttal to Ayres 278
Campaign Contributions, the Appearance of Corruption, and Trust in Government 285
Large Contributions Provide Unequal Access 297
Corporate America Contributes Soft Money under Pressure 300
Large Contributions Are Given to Influence Legislation 302
Elected Officials Often Used to Obtain Large Donations for the Parties 305
Why I Participate in a Corrupt System 308
How My Soft-Money Contributions Have Helped Elect Good Federal Candidates 315
How the Senate Was Corrupted by Soft Money 317
Consequences of Members Soliciting Soft Money 319
A Cosponsor's Perspective: Why I Don't Raise Soft Money for the Party 322
Congress Is Mired in Corrupt Soft Money 324
Parties Support Members Who Fund-Raise 328
Corruption Is Not an Issue in American Politics 329
Parties Undermined by Soft Money 330
Parties Weakened by Appearance of Corruption 332
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