Neil Reiff Argues for Fixing McCain-Feingold

Neil Reiff and former Federal Election Commission Chairman Don McGahn argue in Campaigns and Elections that action should be taken to fix the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as McCain-Feingold.

On state parties, Reiff and McGahn argue:

McCain-Feingold created a new concept called “federal election activity,” which includes the traditional party programs to register voters, develop voter lists, provide sample ballots and get voters to the polls on Election Day. The law piled on several restrictive provisions that apply even if those activities also benefitted state and local candidates, and even if not undertaken to assist federal candidates. In addition, McCain-Feingold placed a very complex set of regulations upon state and local committees, which make the law regulating state parties look like a Rube Goldberg contraption.

. . .As spending from candidates, national party committees and outside groups is skyrocketing, state party spending has stayed relatively fat. This may be an indication that state and local party committees are becoming marginalized in the current campaign finance scheme. This is unfortunate.

The two-party system has been a stabilizing force in our democracy for over 200 years. Without that stabilizing force, however, there has been a significant rise in the number of single-issue candidates, nasty primaries pitting the middle against the hard partisan flank, and a general polarization. It is time for Congress to reconsider whether some of the regulations placed upon state party committees should be revisited, especially in light of the rise of Super PACs and other outside spending.

The entire article can be found here.