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Topic: Policy Evaluation - Essay Example

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Effectiveness of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002) Name Instructor Name After a seven-year struggle by congressional sponsors to amend the Federal Campaign Law, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) was finally enacted on March 27, 2002 after signing by president…
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Essay Topic: Policy Evaluation
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Download file to see previous pages Most parties have solicited for money from different sources, including corporations and individuals. However, a ban on “soft money” in 2002 brought changes in the role of money in political campaigns. This paper addresses the objectives and consequences of BCRA, and its effectiveness or ineffectiveness, basing on a variety of events in the political arena today. The main objectives of the BCRA are to restrict the use of corporate and union funds in federal elections, and control of communication in electioneering. Therefore, a ban on “soft money” and the controlled political advertisements are major concerns of BCRA. This is all in an effort to regulate the escalating cost of campaigns, and reduce corruption in electioneering. Wallison & Gora (2009) argue that raising of large sums of money by candidates has a corrupting influence in politics, and on the candidates’ policies. The opponents of this reform however, argue that large amounts of money are needed to fund the candidates’ campaign expenditures, as well as to hold meaningful political debates at the national level. Whether this law is seen in negative or positive light, what remains is that it has changed the way politics are played in America today. Smith argues that political parties need more money, and not less, in their campaigns. He also considers the electioneering communication restriction in BCRA as a violation of constitutional right of freedom of expression (Smith, 2003). The greatest determinant of the effectiveness of the BCRA is the emerging role of non-profit groups in the post BCRA political environment. The 2004 campaign was the first to be under the influence of BCRA. It is evident that the BCRA did not make political parties starve due to lack of finances. Surprisingly, the national political parties raised more hard money in 2003, than they did in both soft and hard money in 1999. The Democratic and Republican parties raised a sum of $371 million in hard money alone in the first year of post BCRA era, as compared to $266 million, a sum of both hard and soft money in the 2000 campaign period, before the BCRA. Today, the Republican Party raises more hard money than the Democratic Party. Nonetheless, both parties have increased their sum of hard money raised over years past the BCRA. Due to the restrictions by BCRA, Political Parties have maximized their money raising capabilities from the PACs and from individuals. This shows that the BCRA has not been effective in regulating the amount of money political parties acquire for their campaigns. BCRA’s restriction on soft money has made parties go for an alternative of hard money, which the parties can source from unrestricted sources. Political Parties today have turned to a large numbers of small donors, rather than a small number of large soft money (Malbin, 2003) BCRA has seen a significant reduction of soft money spent in electioneering. Different analyses have shown that today in the post BCRA era, it is quite hard to make soft money contributions. Today, there are no links between the electioneering non-profit groups, officeholders, and candidates. Before the BCRA, party officials directly connected the large soft money contributors and the public officials in whom they were interested. Soft money contributions were offered in exchange for access to officeholders and candidates. This situation served as the grounds for the U.S Supreme Court to ban soft money. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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