Money in Politics: Developing a Common Understanding of the Issues
A Primer for Engagement of League Members and Fellow Citizens - 2014 The League of Women Voters has been an active participant in CFR for over four decades. It formally adopted a Campaign Finance position in 1974. It continually monitors, and when appropriate, advocates for campaign finance reform in legislative, judicial and regulatory forums at the federal and state levels. It lobbied strongly for the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, cosponsored by Senators McCain and Feingold and passed in 2002. It calls public attention to the issues through regular press releases and op ed pieces, and it works in coalition with other organizations. But the League, no less than the movement at large, faces challenges in the post-Citizens United landscape. The two-track strategy described in its biennial publication Impact on Issues (“achieve incremental reforms where possible in the short term, and build support for public financing as the best long-term solution”) seems to be running up against new barriers erected by the Supreme Court at every turn, although the League continues to advocate strongly within the remaining Constitutional arena. A resolution passed at the 2012 LWVUS Convention urged the League to enlarge that arena by considering other means of challenging the Supreme Court's interpretations, including amending the Constitution. Developed by the League’s Campaign Finance Task Force, this Primer has been written for the use of League members as part of informing themselves, their Leagues and the general public. It is not a League study guide, and the questions that are included are intended only to provide starting points for discussion. They are in no sense “consensus questions” like those in a formal League study. The goal, as stated in the title, is to develop a common understanding of the issues. Such an understanding may eventually form the basis for a League study designed to reach consensus on the solutions it wishes to pursue.