What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Campaign Finance Reform : HR 2356. Campaign Finance Reform/Final Passage of Bill to Close "Soft" Money Loophole on Donations to National Parties and Reduce the Role of Money in the Political System.
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HR 2356. Campaign Finance Reform/Final Passage of Bill to Close "Soft" Money Loophole on Donations to National Parties and Reduce the Role of Money in the Political System.
house Roll Call 34     Feb 13, 2002
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

Though existing campaign finance regulations restricted individual political donations to $1000 per candidate per election cycle, they permitted unrestricted donations to parties for the purpose of "party-building" activities. However, the definition of "party-building" had been broadened through a series of court cases to include almost any issue advocacy advertisement. This "soft money" exception had become a common way for corporations and wealthy individuals to give large sums of money to political campaigns. Shays (R-CT) and Meehan (D-MA) proposed a reform bill to close this loophole and reduce the influence of money in politics. The bill banned soft money donations to the national parties entirely, but allowed up to $10,000 in donations to state parties for get-out-the-vote and voter registration drives. The bill also banned issue advertisements that targeted a specific candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election. To compensate for the absence of the soft money option, the bill also doubled the maximum individual donation to $2000, and indexed it for inflation. Progressives supported the bill as a meaningful effort to clean the political system of corporate money. They voted "yes" along with 41 Republicans and all but 12 Democrats, and the bill passed, 240-189. Upon passage, its next stop was the Senate.

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