A few years ago, after the enactment of McCain Feingold, the Federal Election Commission began issuing implementing rules, and there were not well received in reform quarters. It was objected that the agency was ignoring Congressional intent and gutting the law. One line of attack was possible Hill intervention to disapprove the rules pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. At a lunch with Senators to discuss this possibility, a prominent reform leader told the assembled legislators that if they did not reject the rules and hold the FEC to account, the public “would rise up” in protest. The public uprising did not occur, neither the Senate nor the House took action, and the reform critics took their cases to court—with some but not complete success.
But the hope for public pressure remains alive, and as Matea Gold reports in The Washington Post, there is some thought that with Super PACs and the like, things have gotten so out of hand that voters will insist on action. The ranking of campaign finance among other priorities important to voters remains low, but by one reading, it is inching up the list. Any upward movement is taken to be, maybe, a sign of more popular passion to come. This is always the wish. In the annals of modern campaign finance, it is never a wish come true.
But campaign finance history also shows that elected officials can be moved to take up this cause, and the same Post story that speculates about changes in public opinion records, more concretely, restiveness on the part of politicians. And this could make a difference. Candidates and officeholders cited in the story, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, worry about the small number of Americans—“about a 100 people”– who can shape the course of a campaign with their money. The issue for Senator Graham is not, apparently, the cost to political equality: it is the unfairness to candidates who find that these wealthy activists “are going to be able to advocate their cause at the expense of your cause.”
Full Article: An Uprising for Campaign Finance Reform? –.