As it stands, campaign finance is moderately regulated, yet these regulations are rife with loopholes that allow anyone with sufficient know how and resources to unfairly influence an election. I use the word influence because, quite simply, money talks. I believe that current regulations are inadequate; in the 2004 election alone, over a billion dollars was squandered by the combined efforts of John Kerry and George Bush despite the existence of FECA and the McCain-Feingold Bill (a ban on soft money). While these laws are a step in the right direction, they're only that - a step. Obviously, campaign finance "reform" is still just a euphemism for financial waste when it comes to politics. I believe that more guidelines, stricter, more thorough regulations, and a possible adaptation of the European campaign system could combine to create an effective solution to the problems presented above, without compromising free speech.
The more money that is involved in running for office, the more influence that contributors - wealthy individuals, companies, labor unions, interest groups - have over elected officials and public policy.
Whatever category the donor may fall into, most share a common goal, power and influence. While the common contributor may only wish to see his or her candidate of choice elected, the majority of major donors have an agenda. Their generous contributions are an investment in politics, and they want a return on this investment, a return in the form of political sway, in a platform based around their own beliefs. Whether the contribution comes from an individual, a special interest group, or big business, any sizeable donation is more than likely to have at least one string attached.
This practice is inherently unfair and not representative of Americans as a whole. Groups who are willing to spend thousands, even millions...