The Need for Campaign Finance Reform

Americans across the political spectrum are unified with their concerns over big money in political campaigns. A solution needs to put power back in the hands of individuals.

A 2018 Pew Research Center report[1] showed that 77% of Americans believe there should be limits on the amount of money individuals and groups can spend on campaigns, and 65% found that new laws could be written that would be effective in reducing the role of money in politics.[2]

The campaign finance system is flawed. Super PACs and shell nonprofits give enormous power to the super-wealthy and big corporations. 

“2010 Election Cycle: Spending in the 2010 election cycle grew by 196% up to $135.61 million.

2012 Election Cycle: The majority of the election spending by politically active nonprofits was in the form of direct appeals to vote for or against particular candidates, growing by 227% from the previous election cycle to $308.7 million.

2014 Election Cycle: Reported spending increased yet again, from $139 million in the 2010 midterms to $178 million, and groups bought tens of thousands of ads outside of periods when the ads have to be reported to the FEC.

2016 Election Cycle: While the uncertainty and confusion of the presidential election led many donors and politically active groups to avoid the presidential election, spending in House and Senate races from dark money groups remained high.”[3]

A handful of wealthy donors dominate electoral giving and spending in the United States. There need to be limits on campaign finance, transparency, and effective enforcement of these rules.

Following Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, big money dominates U.S. political campaigns to a degree not seen in decades. Super PACs allow billionaires to pour unlimited amounts into campaigns, drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans. Dark money groups (shell nonprofits) mask the identities of their donors, preventing voters from knowing who’s trying to influence them. Races for a congressional seat also regularly attract tens of millions in spending. 

Goerge Soros, a Hungarian businessman with a net worth of $8.6 billion, donated $170 million during the 2022 midterms to Democratic candidates and campaigns through a 501(c)(4) nonprofit with his total contributions to political campaigns and causes since January 2020 equating to roughly half a billion dollars.[4]

Another issue brought up my Americans are politicized donations to educational institutions.

Jennifer Pritzker, born James Pritzker, has a net worth of $1.7 billion and is a sibling of Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker.

Jennifer gave $1.35 million to the Palm Center to create the Transgender Military Service Initiative.[5]

Jennifer also owns the TAWANI Foundation which announced grants totaling $1,652,940 to support LGBTQIA+ education and research institutes across the country in observance of Pride Month, and an additional $725,000 in matching funds are available under these grants.

Examples of some donations are $100,000 to the Equality Ohio Education Fund to support educational resources and messaging intended to combat anti-transgender misinformation. Another is $275,000 to Williams Institute at UCLA Law School to support the institute's work in transgender research, judicial training, and to fund general operating costs.[6]

Americans call for stricter rules to ensure unlimited political spending by non-candidates really is independent of candidates, and greater transparency of who pays for political ads. To meet these standards, elections at every level require fair and effective enforcement, beginning with better monitorization by the Federal Election Commission and restructuring of the institution so that it can effectively enforce the law. which has requested $93.5 million in funding for the 2024 fiscal year. 

Some policies to be considered should start with fully disclosing all political spending. Congress should consider legislation like the DISCLOSE Act would stop dark money in its tracks by requiring all organizations spending money in elections to disclose their major donors each election cycle.  States should also require all groups engaged in political spending in state races to disclose their donors.

The U.S. campaign finance system unfairly favors a small handful of wealthy donors. There is a growing disconnect between elected officials and the majority of people they represent. This can be attributed to a campaign finance system that unfairly stacks the deck in favor of the few donors able to give large contributions. A handful of wealthy special interests dominate political funding, often through super PACs and shell nonprofits that shield donors’ identities.

There need to be stronger disclosure laws to make it harder for foreign governments to manipulate our elections with foreign spending. Non-citizens with consolidated wealth should not have a say nor an opportunity to influence elections or shadily influence small obscure American municipalities or donate to campaign in exchange for political favors.

Currently “a United States domestic corporation that is a subsidiary of a foreign corporation may establish and administer a separate segregated fund which can make contributions to federal candidate.”[7] This rule needs modification given that it is easy for a foreign national to heavily influence elections by taking the necessary steps to easily establish U.S. shell companies to do so.

The American people should decide elections for themselves without deceptive foreign manipulation. That requires transparency about the sources of paid political messages. Weak disclosure requirements for online ads, secretive nonprofits and other corporate entities, open the door to illegal foreign spending.

Side note, let's not forget about millions in donations by bi-partisan companies Raytheon Technologies[8] and Pifzer Inc.[9]














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