Tuesday, October 07, 2003
About a year and a half ago, the politicians in Washington DC congratulated themselves on passing what they called the toughest campaign finance reform bill in a generation. It was called the McCain-Feingold bill and it was supposed to ban soft money -- the huge checks that corporations. labor unions, and rich folks gave to political parties. The beltway good government groups gushed praise on the politicians for finally cleaning up their act.
Well, maybe nobody looked at the fine print, but it sure looks like the bill isn't going to ban soft money after all. Here's a story from the Charolotte Observer which says that many state political parties will continue to be able to raise soft money. So, rather than banning it, the McCain-Feingold law may just shift it from the federal parties to the state parties.
This is something that citizens should keep a close eye on. If we can't count on the politicians and the good government groups to pass meaningful regulations when they say they're passing reform, then citizens will have to get involved themselves rather than leaving this up to others.