Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Pary of Reform... Er... Maybe Not

The Republicans in the House passed campaign finance reform today. The sweeping measures are... well, not so sweeping. Basically, it would be putting us back in the exact same position we were in before McCain-Feingold.

The Republicans put a cap on the amount of money that 527 groups can raise, but took off the cap on the amount of money the national party can spend on elections.

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) described the bill as "the first piece of the broad GOP lobbying and earmark reform package." Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) declared that the legislation demonstrates that "the Republican Party is the party of reform."

And by party of reform... he means the party of no reform. Not only does this limit 527 groups, whose donations come mainly from individuals, but it puts the major funding of campaigns right back in the hands of special interest groups who are the major contributors to the national parties.

Not only did they not reform campaign finance, they actually regressed us. Instead of making things better for democracy, they just made things worse.

I guess since the polls are not looking too good for them, they have to do anything and everything they can to retain power, even if it is at the detriment of democracy.

Campaign Finance Measure Approved
By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 6, 2006; Page A01

The House approved campaign finance legislation last night that would benefit Republicans by placing strict caps on contributions to nonprofit committees that spent heavily in the last election while removing limits on political parties' spending coordinated with candidates.

The bill passed 218 to 209 in a virtual party-line vote.

Lifting party spending limits would aid Republican candidates because the GOP has consistently raised far more money than the Democratic Party. Similarly, barring "527" committees from accepting large unregulated contributions known as "soft money" would disadvantage Democrats, whose candidates received a disproportionate share of the $424 million spent by nonprofit committees in 2003-2004.

The 527 committees, named for a section of the tax law, are tax-exempt organizations that use voter mobilization and issue-based ads to influence federal elections. They grew in importance after the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law barred federal candidates and national parties from accepting unlimited donations from individuals, unions and corporations.

(Full Story)

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