Financing the Campaigns
This chapter explains how campaign finance reached the dismal state. The Supreme Court's evisceration of campaign finance laws has permitted non-party groups to spend record sums in campaigns. Money now comes into campaigns in two different ways. First, individuals and groups can give money to a candidate's campaign. Second, groups and individuals can spend their own money on campaign communications and activities, usually independent of the campaign. Before the campaign finance reforms of the 1970s, American campaign finance laws were weak, inconsistent, and usually ignored. Congressional and presidential candidates were allowed to take unlimited sums of money from individuals. State and local parties, energized by money received from the national parties, became more involved in campaigns. The lifting of all campaign finance rules would lead to unrestricted influence of big money on politics, even if the big money came from other nations or drug cartels.