Thursday, October 13, 2005

the good, the bad, the 527s (5.2.05)

Once upon a time, politics were controlled by the unlimited
spending practices of political parties. This is no longer the case.
However, money is still running all things politically related
to campaigns and legislation.
Organizations that are set up to raise money for political
activities, including voter mobilization efforts, are called 527s.
They represent the Swift Boats veterans and the Moveon.orgs
of the world. They are special interest groups that purchase
television and radio advertisement to promote their political
agendas. This enhanced political freedom has resulted in a
dramatic change in the manner in which political elections
are run. They have more freedom than political parties to
raise funds and may use it as they please.
It was initially believed that once the McCain-Fiengold Bill
(the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) was passed, this type
of soft money spending would be significantly affected.
Since it was not, politicians seemed to make more trouble
for themselves, since anyone has the ability to control
the messages they put out.
Last year, these so-called 527s spent approximately
400 million on their political agendas and advertising to
promote their beliefs and their political candidates. These
organizations are independent, more so than political action
committees—and have the ability to make politicians address
issues that they would otherwise have avoided. Since most
politicians use the focus group methodology to decide what
they will use for talking points and selecting sounds bites,
527s have the capacity to force the issue from outside of
the political process. Thanks to Capitol Hill, for this is another
fine mess you have gotten us into. --torrance stephens

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