I have to agree with James Hamilton: it's time to repeal McCain-Feingold. I'd much rather have parties absorbing unlimited contributions than watch the funding get sucked up by unaccountable, unknowable 527's. Parties and campaigns can, at the least, be held accountable. 527's, on the other hand, are just hatchet men, called in for the dirty work and disavowed for the cameras. And while it's certainly true that legislation can correct this specifically (and indeed, similar bills have been introduced), what, then, happens to 501(c)6's? What happens to online speech?
If we're going to do campaign finance reform, it has to be done right. Clean elections, federal funding, subsidized airtime. These halfway measures just make things worse, creating all manner of perverse workarounds and loopholes that ends in a more unaccountable, more vicious, more unhealthy public square. So thanks for dropping by, McCain-Feingold, you even did some good. Democrats, cut off from soft money, raised unimaginable amounts online, creating a small donor base to rival anything the GOP has in direct mail and setting off a revolution in campaign fundraising that should, in time, reduce the impact of corporate cash. But now it's time for you to go.
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