Today, running for the nation's highest office has become so costly that by the time the November election rolls around total presidential campaign spending will, in all likelihood, easily exceed $1 billion for the first time in history. From the start of every presidential campaign, how well candidates fare in amassing their war chests is a critical factor in how they are portrayed by the press and in how well they can make their cases to the public.
This first part of a series from the Center for Public Integrity focuses on the campaign finance reforms that were enacted after Watergate and explains how we reached the point where, in the current campaign, the candidates are raising untold sums. Syndicated columnist Jules Witcover answers the questions for anyone who's wondered why politicians are allowed to raise and spend money without revealing where their funds are coming from or where they are going.
Jules Witcover, a graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, has been a newspaperman for over fifty years and a writer who has covered national politics in Washington and around the country since the first Eisenhower administration. He joined the Washington bureau of the Newhouse newspapers in 1954, later moving to the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau, then the Washington Post. Since 1977, he has been a nationally syndicated columnist, first at the Washington Star and since 1981 at the Washington bureau of the Baltimore Sun.
The author of many books on American politics and history, several of them Book of the Month Club selections, as well as a novel and other works, he also contributes to many national magazines.
This free podcast is from our '08 Conversations series.