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Article on campaign funding

American federal general elections are huge challenge in terms of logistics and funding. The
electorate is big and in a big country like US its impossible to run a presidential campaign
with no funds. On an average a presidential campaign needs more than a billion. The
democratic candidate in 2008 election Barak Obama and his running mate from Republican
Party spent more than a billion dollars. The overall spending in that election was more than
$5.4 billion. The question is how did they manage so much money and where did they spend.
According to research done by Centre for Responsive Politics, self-funded candidates dont
win elections. Like mitt Romney who spent $45 million of his own money, have lost. A
candidate needs to raise serious money from the public, sympathisers and followers. It is well
known that when a candidate wins he is found to be better funded but that does not mean he
had more funds. He won because more people contributed to the campaign. One great
example is that of Sheldon Adelson, who spent and contributed $30 million to a super PAC
backing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And Romney lost. It was conservatively
estimated that he spent more than $99 million in that campaign alone. So more funding does
not mean more influence.
While the citizen united judgement (Barbara Lawton,2014) established the rights of the
American corporation s and unions to spend money on influencing the electorate
individually ,in the McCutcheon case the court reiterated the need of the public, tax
payers and the electorate itself participating to influence who wins. It is the fundamental
right of the citizens to fight for against a candidate. There is nothing illegal and improper
as long as they stick to the sanctioned limits.
Corporations and unions can spend unlimited for their own campaign outside of political
domain and through advertisements or personal canvassing, but they cant contribute
directly to a candidate (Dahlia Lithwick , 2014) who is seeking a federal chair.

Similarly an individual can contribute only $2600 to a single individual candidate in a


two year cycle but overall the limit of $47,600 is struck down. It brings more funds to
political campaigns. Its clear that more the no of donors, the more effective the
campaign itself and more transparent too.
While campaign funding will still be debated for years, its still a grey area of democratic
institutions that allows rich and mighty be able to influence many and might be actually
influencing the position from behind the scenes if they succeed in their campaigns. It
remains to be seen how and when the electoral process gets cleaner and more
transparent. The recent judgements are a step in that direction but its just not enough to
allay the concern of the ordinary citizen.

References
1.
Dahlia
Lithwick
,2014,
McCutcheon Breeds
Cynicism,
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014
/04/campaign_fi nance_after_mccutcheon_if_the_public_doesn_t_car
e_the_appearance.html

2. Hurley Lawrence , 2014 , Supreme Court's rejection of U.S. campaign funding


limits
opens
door
for
big-money
donors
retrieved
from
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/02/us-usa-court-electionidUSBREA3116V20140402
3. Jay Mandle ,2014, McCutcheon's Contradictions
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-mandle/mccutcheonscontradiction_b_5239839.html

retrieved

from

4. Lukas Ross , april 2014, Dirty Money, Dirty Fuels: Why Money in Politics
Matters
to
the
Environment
Retrieved
from
http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/29/dirty-money-dirty-fuels-why-money-in-politicsmatters-to-the-environment/

5. Asawin Suebsaeng, Andy Kroll and Aaron Ross , 2014 , 250 Years of
Campaigns, Cash and Corruption, http://billmoyers.com/tag/mccutcheon-v-fec/