Tuesday, September 07, 2004
A weekly newspaper that covers our nation's capital, The Hill, just ran an op-ed that I submitted to them last May. You can read it here.
One update. I wrote this after a heated spring debate at the Federal Elections Commission had led them to do, well, nothing, on the topic of so-called 527 electioneering groups. In August, the FEC actually did do something. They ruled that starting in 2005, electioneering groups that attack or promote federal candidates need to do so with 1/2 hard money (raised in amounts under $5000) and 1/2 soft money (raised with no limits at all.) Plus, any money that a group raises that it explicitly tells donors is for electing or defeating candidates is subject to the $5000 limit. See Ned's Post here, a New York Times report here, a Washington Post account here, and the draft version of the FEC's new rules here for more details.
These new developments don't really change anything I wrote in the op-ed however. BCRA still didn't ban soft money, as its proponents claimed. BCRA still did increase the hard money limits, which has meant that on the whole it did more harm than good. It remains to be seen whether these new FEC regulations will have any significant impact on what outside electioneering groups are able to do.