Money like water
A pair of election law attorneys argue persuasively that the nation's labyrinth campaign finance laws not only fail to cleanse politics of corruption but merely protect the incumbent lawmakers who voted for the regulations in the first place:
The law is not only increasingly complex but, in many cases, counterintuitive, requiring ever more nuanced clarifications from regulators. ...
Many politicians favored McCain-Feingold because it prohibited certain advertising that mentioned opponents’ names, or because it authorized them to raise more money if they were challenged by wealthy, free-spending opponents. The bill also attempted to strike at “negative” political speech — known to ordinary Americans by its other name, “criticism”— by requiring candidates to publicly approve their ad content.
In 2004, the first election year during which McCain-Feingold was in effect, negative campaigns overwhelmed the government’s efforts to discourage them, and fund-raising records fell beneath the frenzied pace of collections by candidates, parties and interest groups.
By 2005, a rash of scandals, including the Abramoff and Cunningham cases, had answered the question of whether this legal crusade would quash corruption.
I've discussed this previously. Our campaign finance laws make money harder to trace, thus reducing the accountability of candidates and donors, and they also make money much harder to raise, which puts incumbents at an advantage over newcomers. I fail to see how this state of affairs is good for democracy.