"Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. Rising election costs have long fostered a sense in some quarters that spending is out of control, with too much time spent raising funds and elections 'bought and sold.' Debate has also focused on the role of interest groups in campaign funding, especially through political action committees (PACs). Differences in perceptions of the campaign finance system have long been compounded by different reform approaches of the major parties. Democrats have tended to favor more regulation, with spending limits and some public funding or benefits a part of their past proposals. Republicans have generally opposed such limits and public funding. Democratic majorities in the 101st-103rd Congresses passed bills with spending limits, benefits, and PAC and loophole curbs. The 101st and 103rd Congress bills were not reconciled; a 102nd Congress conference bill was vetoed. Reformers in the 104th Congress sought a similar bill but failed on a Senate cloture vote; House Republicans offered a bill giving parties and local citizens a greater role, but this and a Democratic alternative lost."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB87020
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/