Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Campaign Finance Reform Seen as "Boost for Jewish Grassroots Donors"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Campaign Finance Reform Seen as "Boost for Jewish Grassroots Donors"

Article excerpt

Not to worry. According to the Jewish Forward of March 22, the much-ballyhooed campaign finance reform legislation passed by Congress in March will not threaten the power of Jewish campaign contributions on American political life--or, more accurately, on American politicians. The new legislation primarily bans "soft money"--the huge cash donations given to political parties, rather than to individual candidates, by corporations and the wealthiest party donors. Should this ban be upheld in court, the contributions of moderately wealthy donors--who, under the new legislation, may now give $57,000 per election, up from $25,000--will become increasingly significant, as will local fund-raising efforts.

"Fund-raisers privately estimate that money donated by Jews makes up 30 percent or more of campaign donations," according to the Forward's Eli Kintisch. "In the 1999-2000 election cycle, some 20 of the top 50 individual donors of soft money were Jewish."

One of the ways in which fund-raisers are expected to adapt to the new rules is through a greater reliance on "bundling," the combining of individual donations into one package. …

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