Essay on Financing Political Campaigns in America

Published: 2022/01/10
Number of words: 984


Political campaigns in the United States of America get funds from diverse sources. These sources vary from individuals, organization and public accounts. There are laws and regulations on election funding and campaigns covered by federal and supreme courts. This paper reviews a video and reviews articles relating to corporate speech.


The political campaigns spent millions of dollars in Montana to run their last senate campaigns. The amount of funds used was 6,8 million dollars the largest amount spent, in a State in the United states. Big sky, Big Money is a documentary that digs deeper into the sources of funds for the elections. The documentary tries to find out those funding politicians and determine who wins the elections. This special documentary takes place in Helena, Montana. The documentary represent the electioneering period in America. The commentator of the documentary Kai Ryssdal searches to find answers to the sources of funds for elections. Through his documentary, he shows how forces have shaped elections in Montana. He is particularly interested in the battle of the senate seat between the incumbent democrat Jon Tester and Denny Rehberg representing republicants.

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Ryssdal manages to get an interview with James Bopp Jr a famous lawyer who pushes for the dismantling of election funding restrictions. From interviews with voters, it is clear that an average voter does not care who funds elections. In his, tour Mr. Ryssdal, examines several groups who are not required to disclose their sources of funds. In his interactions with the citizens, he notes that finding out who finances the groups is a next to impossible venture. His analysis points out that the groups have no names, no number of phones and no addresses. He is lucky to get one address, but it eventually turns out to be a U.P.S. he further notes that there are organizations outside Montana that influences State elections. In the documentary, Ryssdal recognizes mysterious documents suggesting that both parties have crossed bridges, which separate candidates from these groups.

The anonymity of election funding in Montana relates partly to united decision of citizens as well as various laws. In an interview with Mr. Bopp, Bopp suggests that it is not right for Mr Ryssdal to tell Montana voters to be concerned with whoever funds elections. Voters should not allow themselves to be points of manipulation by groups. A voter in this era needs to do their own research rather than wait for information from anonymous groups. These corporation in Montana finance election related activities by funding advertising and controls people decisions during electioneering period (Erwin 623). He further obtains evidence that confirm corrupt practices, where forged documents and sent to citizens. These mails were false letters produced by outside groups to encourage voters to vote for specific candidates without their knowledge.

Free Speech Rights of Corporations

The documentary caused concerns and the Corporation Western Partnership sued to end these corrupt practices in Montana. However, the United States of America Supreme Court overturned the decision of Montana Supreme Court. The court argued that these groups would continue to work behind the scenes because the free speech protections to corporations do not apply in Montana. These groups will never have to identify themselves, and they would probably continue influencing elections through financing activities and advertisements (Justin 217). The United States Supreme Court has derived the right of the federal government to restrict free speech of an independent organization.

Most of conservatives and other liberals favor unrestrained free speech. Liberals were delighted of this decision while most conservatives were not glad. The Supreme Court saw no difference with the application of the law in relation to speech on corporations. However, critics argue that corporations and individuals have different viewpoints. The goals of individuals and that of corporation differ. Unlike corporation, whose sole purpose is profit making while individuals need to do good. As a result, Citizens United decision prostulate that political organizations can receive unlimited political contributions. Political organizations and Non-governmental are not required to disclose their sources of funds.

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Over the past decade, there have been accusations on illegal influence of administration on presidential elections. Congress on the other hand adopts aspects of the Election campaign Act in order to limit spending and contribution on federal elections. Further, congress limited amount of public contribution and personal contributions on parties. The court also argues that limits to contributions to political parties are unconstitutional as well as protected in law. Nevertheless, congress continues to develop laws reducing election campaign expenses. Some of these laws relates to advertisements of campaigns over television and radio (Erwin 623). These laws proceed to restrict soft money contributions to political parties, and persons’ names advertisement takes place within 30 days or 60 days to the general election. Congress has been debating on developing prohibitions on foreign influence in federal elections.

Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

In the year 2010 the United States Supreme Court, held the first Amendment that restricts corporations, associations, independent and labor unions expenditures. Citizens united a lobby group, wanted to play a film associated to Hillary Clinton in apparent violation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The decision by the court seems to be discriminatory in the eyes of conservatives (Justin 217). Most of those criticizing the decision argue that laws on prohibition of funding need review. The Supreme Court need to develop blanket limits that cover across states. Laws covering electioneering Funding need to ensure that all groups responsible for contributing have tags. Election sponsors need to be accountable to all members and their contributions scrutinized.

Works Cited

Chemerinsky, Erwin. “Future of the First Amendment. ” Willamette L. Rev. 46 (2009): 623.

Justin, Levitt. “Impact of Citizens United.” Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 29 (2010): 217.

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