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Election Reform Amendment Essay

2406 words - 10 pages

Introduction:
In the last election cycle, 132 Americans accounted for sixty percent of all the Super Political Action Committees’ (PACs) money (2). With statistics like this, it is no wonder the average American does not feel as though his or her vote is meaningful. In the scheme of the corruption of political money, it truly isn’t. In the current American way of government elections, the average citizen does not choose the candidate; he or she merely has the opportunity to decipher which best fits his or her beliefs, out of the ones suggested by the large election donors. This is why many Americans feel they are choosing the lesser of two evils when electing a candidate, because this is what a citizen’s vote currently decides.
This is not to say that all elected officials are evil, it just confirms that citizens are not getting the voice they are assured in the Constitution. Year after year incumbents are reelected, but the approval rating of congress is lower than root canals and head lice (20). In the 2002 congressional elections, 94% of the candidates who raised the most money won their races (4). When these statistics are viewed to together, they do not make sense. Why would unpopular incumbents retain their seat in office? The only explanation is funding, and the trend has always been that the candidate with the most funds wins; most notably with incumbents in congress.
Candidates are not all to blame for this happening, a great deal of the problem can be attributed to the way the system has been established. Instead of candidates focusing on key interests, they focus on what will allow them to earn the most money. As Leslie Byrne, former representative from Virginia, was told when coming into Congress by a fellow member, "always lean to the green” (13). For members of congress and presidential candidates this means always siding with Super PACs and absurdly wealthy individuals. Unfortunately, these actions are legal, but they are still corrupting the election system. The reversal of the McCain Feingold bill in the Citizens vs. the Federal Election Committee (FEC) Supreme Court case, allows money to equate to free speech. Without the McCain Feingold Act, otherwise known as the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), in place, wealthy individuals have superior influence in elections, and corporations have greater free speech than those citizens who are the ones voting.
Background:
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) are the overseers of how campaign contributions are made. This independent regulatory agency discloses campaign information, enforces campaign finance laws, and oversees the public funding of presidential elections (8). The Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971 prohibits corporations and incorporated charitable organizations from giving to or spending for a candidate. However, PACs provide a way for corporations to dodge this law (8).
Even before the McCain Feingold Act, the Supreme Court addressed the issue...

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