How Does Campaign Finance Affect Election

Today, the cost for a public seat often exceeds millions of pesos and increases depending on the position and who the opponent is. Once in office, the elected official needs to raise more than what he spends in order to fund his re-election campaign.

This high cost of office-seeking and current ways of meeting it not only distract elected officials from their primary task of lawmaking or administration, but leave the door open to the influence of special interests. When a politician is influenced by either the need to solicit contributions from special interests to finance a costly election campaign, or by a sense of obligation to benefactors, the politician may no longer represent the interests of his entire constituency (see Santa Clara University; The Power of Money: The Ethics of Campaign Finance Reform)

One of the guarantees of a democratic government is the right to vote and to have equal access to opportunities for public office. However, this principle is often challenged as cash flow during campaign becomes erratic and uncontrollable which eventually influence the election results.

If the outcome of elections can be determined by the amount of money spent on the political campaign, then special interest donors have greater power to influence elections than the average voter. Such a situation unjustly violates the principle of equality that is fundamental to a democratic government (supra). Having that said, the [e]qual opportunity to proffer oneself for public office, without regard to the level of financial resources rather becomes meaningless (Chavez vs COMELEC, G.R. No.162777, 31 August 2004). Some critics still believe that even if existing laws restrict campaign expenditures, benefactors would shift from contributions to lobbying.

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