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"There are strict laws limiting campaign advertisements that say to vote for or against a candidate. But there are far less controls on issue ads that say virtually the same thing, yet merely stop short of using the word 'vote.'"

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Campaign Finance Reform
Politics and Economy:
Paying for Politics
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IN THE NEWS: As the presidential campaign heats up, attention is focusing on campaign coffers. Much of the money of both political parties and interest organizations goes to campaign advertising. Increasingly, controversial attack ads can be traced back to so-called 527 organizations, more so in this election than ever before. Find out how to track who's paying for the message, and how. (more)

The Presidency of the United States was an office neither to be sought nor declined. To pay money for securing it directly or indirectly, was in my opinion incorrect in principle. — John Quincy Adams, 1828

Fine sentiments from the sixth President of the United States, a man not without significant familiar and financial influence going into his own race for the White House. According to federal government historians, money has played a role in campaigns since the earliest days of the nation. However, it has been only since 1960 that money spent on campaigns has increased dramatically. Below, find out more about just how much money is flowing into the system.

Paying for Politics: Who's Giving and Who's Getting?      

The ECONOMIST estimates that in the national election cycle of 2000, over $3 billion was spent on presidential and congressional races. Totals for the 2004 cycle are expected to rise significantly.

Use the links below to investigate the campaign finance system.

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Democracy Tools
NEWS: See who's footing the bill and fact check the message. From sloganeering to mud-slinging — campaign ad history. Plus, Big Media's own contributions. And learn about accusations that Tom DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority was secretly funding state elections.
DEBATE: Campaign finance reform has been a matter of public debate since the first reform act was passed in 1972. Find out about the battle over the 2003 Bi-Partisan Campaign Act in the Supreme Court. What role should 527 groups be allowed to play? Does the system need reform? Read NOW viewers' ideas.
Pencil and test paper FACTS AND FIGURES: The Center for Public Integrity has just released THE BUYING OF THE PRESIDENT 2004. See how the system works, and review campaign finance files from the Democratic and Republican parties.
Women at prayer RESOURCE MAPS: Check up on your state's election commission. Then see what federal contracts have been awarded in your area. Plus, access research resources. The Campaign Finance Information Center links to state data.
Women at prayer FEATURES: Media is one of the most expensive items on any candidate's budget. See where big media's money goes. Find out more about one proposed solution, the Clean Election movement. NOW talks with the champion of campaign finance reform Senator John McCain.

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