05 Feb Political Donations: A genuine Need or a Wastage of Money?
We all have witnessed the Political campaigns (both giant and small) during the elections which include a lot of public gathering, advertisements and several other types of promotions. Elections after elections the expenses of these campaigns go higher which makes the large graph of donations very clear, although the exact figures are not available, this comes to the limelight because of available loopholes in the “1971 Federal Election Campaign Act.” Basically, the act was enacted for fair regulation of political campaigns including money spending and fundraising. In the year 1974, this act was amended which placed legal limits (for the first time) on expenses and monetary contribution on election campaigns. Not only that made this act perfect, but it also required the need of several amendments till 2014 (followed by scandals and the Supreme Court’s take on electoral activities).
The present scenario of the nation reflects that the donors who are donating a significant amount in the election (directly or) indirectly holds power over politics and as well as government. Recent Case McCutcheon Vs. FEC, which made Supreme Court declare section 441 of the Federal Election Campaign Act unconstitutional. However, an important point to notice is, this section was passed to limit private fundraisings of federal election campaigns so that the corruption can be eliminated from the country. The highlight of the then court’s session came in the form of Justice Thomas’s statement which argued over the judgment and said, “Limiting the amount of money a person may give to a candidate does impose a direct restraint on his political communication.” A counter of which was received from the Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote in his legal opinion, “The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.”
The journey of FEC created many loopholes over the years, it is because a small task of foreseeing every circumstance (which goes behind the curtain) is impossible. And even Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan dissented, arguing that the decision “creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.”
In 2018 a survey of US adults conducted by PEW RESEARCH CENTER showcased that the 77% public wanted limitation on the amount of money donated/used on election campaigns or on parties, only 23% stated that it should be an individual’s priority and that one should be free to spend as much he/she wants. The survey showcased many beliefs of citizens regarding the democracy and the politics in the nations, and a significant group believes that the person who donates a high amount can reflect his/her issues in the politics as well, which apparently makes them an influencer. Further discussions during surveys of the report revealed that speaking of influence over politics, people agree that large political donors should not have authority over the political doings.
While the concern is majorly of a national citizen that apparently how his money is being circulated in the market, the opponents of this concerned issue are likely to defend with a thought that this should not be under any regulation of government and that it is already a personal legal decision of an individual to spend the money in their own way.