Campaign Finance Reform is supposedly designed to avoid corruption arising through the solicitation of contributions. Based on this logic, you’d think that a self-funded candidate would be less corrupt because he wouldn’t have to solicit much money.
Why then is Congress punishing self funded candidates? (with special thanks to Roy A. Schotland of Georgetown Law for the rest of this discussion)
1) If a Congressman has $5million in his account and his challenger mortgages her house to put $1million in her campaign, that will allow the Congressman to solicit contributions of $6000.00 per person, instead of $2,000.00. This is the case, even if the mortgaged house is the only significant asset of the opponent.
2) Once the opponent has been defeated by the Congressman, the opponent will only be allowed to pay herself back $250,000.00 of the $1million she loaned to the campaign. She’s on her own to pay back the rest of the mortgage.
To recap: The opponent gets screwed by using her own money to get to a level of competitiveness against the Congressman who has been fundraising for two years, and then she can’t take the remainder of her money back out of the campaign without going to jail for violating campaign finance laws.
At the same time, despite the appearance of corruption, the Congressman gets to increase his contributions from $2,000 per person to $6,000.00 to defeat his supposedly wealthy opponent.
Yeah, this is reform — reforming for the worse the already solid incumbent protection plan.