April 22, 2008

In an editorial today, the New York Times (unintentionally) demonstrates the absurdity of campaign finance reform. Under McCain-Feingold, when a candidate for the US House spends more than $350,000 of his own money, his opponent is allowed to accept larger campaign donations. According to the Times:

There is also no sign that the [McCain-Feingold provision] is discouraging the wealthy from running or spending. The very rich are represented in Congress in large numbers. Contrary to Mr. Davis’s claims of “chilling,” the number of candidates who spent more than $1 million of their own money actually increased after the amendment took effect. It is now common for party recruiters to seek out “self-financing” — or wealthy – candidates.

The Times fails to acknowledge that the reason so many campaigns are self-financed nowadays is because of limitations on campaign contributions in the first place. If the restrictions were gone, more non-self-financing people could run for office – people like a NY Times kind of guy, Eugene McCarthy.

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