Campaign Finance

For most of the twentieth century campaign finance has been dominated by political parties.This was mainly due to their control over the campaigns themselves.The parties managed every aspect of the campaign, much of it without the need for cash.Instead, the campaigning relied on services volunteered or bartered for some party-controlled favor.However, when the party needed cash it was raised, and more often than not, the cash came from the candidates.The candidate's contributions were often expected when necessary, as a condition of receiving the party’s nomination.However, the candidate could not be relied on for large sums of money.In this case the parties depended on the storied fat cats, or men of wealth.Insurance executive Clement Stone and his wife Jessie are the record-holding fat cats, giving $2.8 million to Richard Nixon;sfirst presidential victory.While some local campaigns did not use any fat cats, none were able to compete with major party campaigns.In 1928, 69.7% of the receipts of the Democratic National Committee, and 68.4% of the receipts of the Republican National Committee came from contributions of $1,000 or greater. The political dominance by the parties, and their big contributors, extended well into the 1950s and 1960s.But, a huge change in campaign finance was quickly become more and more evident.Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, the number of families with television sets rapidly increased to about 92% in 1964.Media involvement took a whole new importance in campaigning.Estimated spending in all American campaigns increased from $200 million in 1964 to $425 million in 1972. Throughout the rising importance of electronic campaigning, the big contributors, or fat cats, remained essential.In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, another change was taking place.The political parties were losing their significant role.The party organizations began to crumble, and …

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