After Watergate brought down Richard Nixon, the U.S. passed the Federal Election Campaign Act in an attempt to make election campaigns more open and transparent. One of the key features of the act, was that it placed legal limits on campaign contributions.
This prompted high profile Republican strategist, Arthur Finkelstein, who had worked on Nixon’s campaign, to come up with something called Independent Expenditure Campaigns (in Canada this is known as Third Party Advertising). This allowed the wealthy to funnel their contributions through a political activist group, who could run attacks ads freely, usually zeroing in on a policy the Republicans opposed and their opponents favoured, or had already adopted.
Finkelstein would also work for Ronald Reagan, before joining Canada’s National Citizens Coalition. According to Gerry Nicholls, who was Stephen Harper’s VP when he was running the NCC: Continue reading »