CATO at LIBERTYLamont’s Victory Exposes Campaign Finance “Reform”Thu Aug 10, 2006 00:58
Lamont’s Victory Exposes the True Nature of Campaign Finance “Reform”
There is not a line in McCain-Feingold that isn’t designed to protect incumbents. The so-called Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act makes it a crime to even mention the name of a candidate for federal office in a radio or television ad within 60 days of a general election. No criticizing incumbents! But the worst part of these laws came with the 1974 Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act, which instituted a $1000 contribution limit to candidates running for federal office (now slightly more than $2000, but less in real terms than the ’74 limits). Incumbents have earmarks to pass around and large mailing lists. Challengers do not. Advantage, incumbents.
Ned Lamont’s remarkable victory over three-term incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman yesterday exposes the true nature of contribution limits. They aren’t about the “appearance of corruption.” They’re about preventing a challenger from having a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. The one “loophole” the Supremes created with their incoherent 1976 decision in Buckley v. Valeo was that candidates have rights the rest of us don’t have. Apparently, they can’t be corrupted by their own money, so there are no limits on what they can spend on their own campaigns.
More than 60 percent of Ned’s campaign expenditures came from Ned. Without Ned, Ned loses. In fact, no political observer thought any candidate dependent on a $2000 contribution limit had any kind of chance of ousting Lieberman. Ned was a very poor candidate. Inarticulate with zero charisma. But by spending his own money he enfranchised the Democrats of Connecticut who otherwise, given the contribution limits, were disenfranchised. The Democrats in Connecticut hate the war in Iraq, Lieberman has rather energetically endorsed it. Yet the federal election laws would have assured Lieberman reelection were it not for the “loophole.”
This anti-war election is directly analogous to my late friend Gene McCarthy’s race for the presidency in 1968. Gene used six-figure contributions from wealthy liberals like Stewart Mott who opposed the war in Vietnam to fund a campaign that ousted a sitting president from his own party. Gene often said that had the ’74 amendments to the FECA been in place in ’68, he would not have run. Campaign finance laws should not have the power to change American history. But they do. Give everyone the “loophole” of being able to spend as much of their own money to promote their political beliefs and we’ll throw a remarkable number of incumbents out of office. And with good candidates instead of bumbling millionaires.
posted by Edward H. Crane on 08.09.06 @ 9:18 am Email
Filed Under: General, Government & Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Civil Liberties
[…] UPDATE: Via Cato @ Liberty: Ned Lamont’s remarkable victory over three-term incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman yesterday exposes the true nature of contribution limits. They aren’t about the “appearance of corruption.” They’re about preventing a challenger from having a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. The one “loophole” the Supremes created with their incoherent 1976 decision in Buckley v. Valeo was that candidates have rights the rest of us don’t have. Apparently, they can’t be corrupted by their own money, so there are no limits on what they can spend on their own campaigns. […]
By Provoking the Muse » Blog Archive » Kim does it again on 08.09.06 2:22 pm | Permalink
EVEN THOUGH it is supposed to be 'SUMMER RECESS'...a very good word for that the YEAR is like compared to the break Kindergarten kids get....the neocons on Capitol Hill are working on a NEW addition to the unchecked power of the appointed President!
This is the Dept of Defence Authorization Bill, Sec 5: giving "authority to the President to CALL UP RESERVE AND NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS WITHOUT CONCENT OF STATE GOVERNORS."
IN EFFECT, the bill gives the President FULL AND COMPLETE AUTHORITY to call up and command ALL Reserve and National Guard troops from ALL 50 STATES ABOVE the existing authority of State Governors. It will allow the President to expand our military forces to include ALL MEMBERS of these services IMMEDIATLY, thus putting ALL these people in active service and NEVER CALLING FOR A DRAFT.
THIS has been RULED ON BY THE SUPREME COURT as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It was tried right after Katrina and shot down....NOW it is going to be voted on AGAIN..I GUESS as many times as it TAKES to GET IT RIGHT.
I HOPE you see the implications of this: it effectively removed the command of the Governor of every state and replaces it with the President...elected or not.
PLEASE...if you do ANYTHING THIS SUMMER WRITE AND THREATEN YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN to NOT APPROVE IT....and WATCH HOW THEY VOTE!
IF THEY VOTE YES, they are for DESTROYING OUR NATION.
TO FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, go to
AND PLEASE PASS THIS ON!!!!!
IT IS TIME TO FIGHT!!!!!
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