The Pros And Cons Of Campaign Finance Reform

One of the most important campaign issues that was discussed in the 2016 election is campaign finance reform. Through various methods, corporations and private individuals are able to fund the campaigns of political candidates. However, some argue that it would be better if the campaign finance contributions were handled through public funding. There are several pros and cons to both approaches. 

Private Financing Influences The Behavior Of Politicians

Money in politics provides the wealthy with a disproportionate amount of influence in politics. This overrides the principle that each individual has one vote. Politicians will be more likely to serve the public rather than making decisions based on the needs of those with more financing. Also, politicians typically must spend a large portion of their day seeking more funding, which leaves little left in the day to focus on serving the public.

Removing Money From Politics Might Level The Playing Field

Candidates will have a level playing field because the success of a candidate will be based less on how well politically connected the candidate is. However, there have been some instances when candidates have been able to out fund their rivals through a large number of small, individual donations. Also, there is a risk that campaign finance reform will simply lead to candidates who are able to self-fund being the only candidates who can run.

A possible unintended consequence of limiting the allowed campaign contributions is that PACs are more likely to provide funding to incumbents than to challengers. By allowing for more campaign contributions, it is possible for challengers to raise enough money to get their campaigns started.

Corruption Will Likely Remain

Even with campaign finance reform, there will likely still be corruption. Political officials will still be able to accept bribes illegally. This will simply remove a legal method by which political officials can accept bribes.

Maximum Allowed Contributions Haven't Kept Pace With Inflation

Some argue that it may be necessary to actually raise the maximum allowed campaign contributions on a federal level since they have not been adjusted to match inflation. This means that candidates must raise a much larger sum of money to be able to fund their campaigns.

There are restrictions placed on the number of campaign contributions that a political candidate can receive and also the source of these contributions. Since there are pros and cons of campaign finance reform, these restrictions may be the best way to enjoy the advantages and disadvantages of each.

For further assistance, contact a local ethicist.