The Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) released figures today showing that the private donors to the two major party conventions have... View ArticleContinue reading
On Tuesday just as the campaigns moved into the general election phase, the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) released an analysis of the fundraising being conducted by the Democrats and Republicans for their presidential conventions in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. CFI estimates that corporate funds will pay for 80 percent of the $112 million combined price tag of the two conventions. How is that possible?! CFI found that both parties are using local “host committees” to raise unlimited corporate contributions to pay for the conventions and the FEC and IRS decided that it’s OK for “host committees” to spearhead the fundraising, This created a huge loophole allowing corporate money to flow to the parties.Continue reading
The Forum, a political science journal published by Cal-Berkeley, just published an interesting article by Michael J. Malbin, executive director of The Campaign Finance Institute (CFI), titled "Rethinking the Campaign Finance Agenda." The journal published Malbin's article as part of their special issue entitled "Has the U.S. Campaign Finance System Collapsed." In an email, Malbin wrote that the premise of the article stems from CFI's Project on Participation: Strengthening Democracy through Volunteers and Small Donors.
In the article Malbin argues that the focus of campaign finance laws should shift from attempting to check corruption by limiting contributions and certain expenditures to a more positive agenda of promoting competition and candidate emergence. He makes the case that limits have limits, and that CFI's ongoing research on the promotion of equality through small donors and volunteers shows promise. It's worth a read, even a skeptical one.Continue reading
Forgive me, but I couldn't help but be startled by the above headline of the latest analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute. I mean, the much lauded campaign finance reform effort of a few years ago - the so-called McCain- Feingold bill was supposed to have banned soft money. In fact all the campaign finance reform groups -- I don't think there was a single exception -- made a devil's bargain. In order to get that much praised ban on soft money, the reform groups agreed to double the limits that individuals could give to campaigns. (Someone has yet to explain to me how allowing the less than one-tenth of one percent who give big money to give even more money was a reform.) McCain still carries the mantel of "reformer" because of his championing the legislation
This was a no brainer to predict even then: soft money is back in a big way.
What to do now? See this.Continue reading
Earlier today, the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) and Public Citizen released an extensive study that found the majority of the bundlers and other fundraisers raising cash for the various 2008 presidential campaigns, over 2,000 individuals, come from only three segments of the U.S. economy: lawyers and law firms, three finance industries, and real estate. Among those industries, Republicans hold an edge in raising money from the real estate and lobbying industries. Democrats are receiving more funds from lawyers and law firms, as well as the entertainment industries. Democratic and Republican fundraisers appear to be doing a comparable job of raising cash from the securities and investment industry.Continue reading