Reducing the amount of money in politics has long been a goal of the “reform” community. In Philadelphia, proponents of contribution limits believed that contribution limits would reduce the costs of election. Well, in Philadelphia, the “reformers” got their contribution limits but they did not get reduced spending.Money is the lifeblood of politics, whether on the campaign side or the governing side. Don't take my word for it, here is the facts, of the thousands of bills introduced in Congress every year and the hundreds that become law (some more worthy than others), Congress only has to pass 14 laws a year--a budget and 13 appropriations bills. It really is all about the money.
The Philadelphia Inquirer found that campaign spending in Philadelphia’s first ever primary with contribution limits was, surprise, “comparable to past campaigns.” The only difference, as noted by the Inquirer, is that “candidates had to work harder to raise the money.”
So it turns out that instead of reducing the amount of money in politics, contribution limits force candidates to spend more time groveling for money. Unfortunately, the “reform” community also complains that candidates spend too much time fundraising. (links in original omitted)
The problem with any campaign finance limits scheme is that the limits come only in one area, the supply side, that is the money coming in is limited. However, the costs of campaigning keep going up, from the costs of simple things like bumper stickers and stamps, to the more complex like media time and legal fees assciated with compliance with campaign finance regulations and other election law rules.
Simply put, if reformers were serious, they would look at ways to limit the costs of campaigning and one way would be to lower the compliance costs of campaigning by eliminating some of the rules.