The current campaign finance system undermines democracy and essentially forces politicians to shake down business leaders in order to remain in office. As political fund raising has become more lucrative, the strain on business has increased exponentially. Participating in the fund raising process has become too expensive, time consuming, and inefficient for many businesses. Many prominent corporations like GM and Time Warner have recently stopped making soft money contributions as both a pledge to campaign finance reform and in an effort to increase productivity. GM discovered that the money that was being spent on soft money contributions could be better spent elsewhere. GM has also found that its relations with Congress have been unaffected by its decision to stop making soft money contributions.
In addition, many more companies are considering banning soft money contributions. It is reasonable to expect that the rising trend of soft money contributions would be dramatically reversed if corporate executives realized that they were not alone in wanting to stop making soft money contributions. Businesses are beginning to realize that they are often not getting very much in return for their contributions and they are sick of being held up by politicians. Membership fees of the parties' most elite donor clubs have recently skyrocketed from $100,000 to $250,000. Furthermore, the frequency at which politicians are asking for contributions is only increasing. Many executives have begun to feel unnecessarily besieged by the entire contribution process.
The campaign finance system affects who can be elected, and, therefore, potentially affects every issue. Business leaders have the ability to change the system to benefit their needs and the needs of the American people, if they band together.
Wondering why some businesses are now supporting reform?
Wondering what the Committee for Economic Development thinks about campaign finance?
- Read the Committee for Economic Development's report on campaign finance