BCRA Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act

Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on April 27, 2012

BCRA Stands for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, and it was co-sponsored by Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ), which is why it is often referred to as “McCain-Feingold.” This legislation was the starting place for what eventually passed through the Senate and became law, called HR 2356, introduced by Chris Shays (R-CT).

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: this legislation did little to help remove money from politics. It may have shed some light on soft money funding, as when donations flow from a special interest to a national political party. It also banned ads for specific candidates when the ad ran 30 days before a primary or 60 days before the general election and targeted a certain issue, like right to life or the environment.

Citizens United overturned the issue-ad funding part of the bill, but do these two parts of BCRA really remove the conflict of interest problems when a congressman (or woman) starts making the rounds in Washington? I think not! In fact, many bills that pass in congress dance around the issues and are not written with efficiency in mind because that would be too easy. Instead, bills are corrupted so that the same mechanisms stay in place that favor the monied interests, time and again. It doesn’t matter what bill is on the floor; they are all reviewed and rewritten to favor the companies who have the most money.

It will be interesting to see if the No Budget/No Pay act, pushed by No Labels (a nonpartisan, non profit seeking to make congress work across party lines) will ever pass. If it does, it will be an anomaly:  an act that clearly does not benefit the people serving in congress but may actually help the people.

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