WASHINGTON: With soft money likely to be a thing of the past by the
2002 election season, public affairs firms are hoping to cash in
If the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, which won approval
in the Senate earlier this month, becomes law, they are likely to emerge
as the conduit of choice for corporations that want their voices heard
in the political process. The bill bans unlimited donations from
corporations and wealthy individuals, or soft money, which accounted for
close to dollars 500 million during the 2000 election cycle.
'Corporations will have to be increasingly creative in their attempts to
impact the public-policy process, which should result in additional
opportunities for us,' said David Krawitz, president and managing
director of Powell Tate.
Jamie Moeller, managing director of Ogilvy PR's global public affairs
practice, agreed: 'The corporations, the unions and the individuals who
spend soft money are going to have to find other avenues, and work with
However, some think the legislation does little to stop the flow of
money directly into the political process. Fleishman-Hillard regional
president Paul Johnson believes that the money earmarked for politicians
will continue to find its way to their coffers: 'The relationship
between money and politics is like water moving downstream. If you put a
rock in the way it will find its way aside.'
The bill must now pass the House before going to President Bush, who has
said he is eager to sign some form of campaign-finance reform.