Barack Obama Campaign Finance Reforms Fiddled While System Crumbled
When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, a central tenet of his campaign was that he would not play the same old Washington game. He would push lobbyists to the side and demand reforms to the way politicians raise money for their campaigns. Once elected, he would "tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over."
Obama had a record to back up his statements. He had worked to pass campaign finance reform while serving in the Illinois Senate. As a U.S. senator, he was a primary co-author of the ethics and lobbying reform law passed in response to the Jack Abramoff scandal and co-sponsored legislation to create a congressional public financing system. He also refused to take contributions from registered lobbyists or political action committees.
This résumé gave hope to supporters of campaign finance reform that the entrenched fundraising and lobbying systems would finally face a sustained attack.
If anything, however, the opposite has happened. The four years of Obama's presidency have featured some of the biggest rollbacks of the campaign finance regulatory regime created in the wake of the Watergate scandal. And Obama's own actions, or lack thereof, are partly to blame.
"The absence of presidential initiative on campaign finance reform issues is the norm," said Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer. "What has been disappointing to the reform community is that President Obama while in the Senate was a strong leader on campaign finance reform, and this hasn't carried forward in his presidency."
Even more disappointing to reformers, campaign finance restrictions have crumbled under a string of Supreme Court decisions allowing for corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to spend unlimited amounts on elections, often in secret.
"Some people might say we're in the Wild West," Wertheimer observed. "I think we're on Mars here with this campaign finance system."
Record Fundraising: After securing the 2008 Democratic nomination, Obama announced that he would be the first presidential candidate to refuse to take public funds for the general election. The public financing system, funded by $3 contributions from taxpayers checking a box on their tax returns, provides a set amount of money to a candidate if he or she abides by certain spending limits. Declining those funds freed Obama to raise a record $750 million.
Re: Barack Obama Campaign Finance Reforms Fiddled While System Crumbled
A buttclown full of changes for the worse.
If you voted for him the 1st time, at best you were simply fooled.
If you vote for him again, you are a moron.
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