Former senator and 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole criticized the amount of money that political campaigns are raising and spending on elections and questioned the future of the Republican Party.
In the new interview with AARP magazine, the former Kansas senator was asked about the greatest changes in politics since his ill-fated run for the presidency against Bill Clinton nearly two decades ago.
“Money. Now they talk about raising $1 billion to run for president. It’s unreal,” Dole said.
“We need to do something to stop all this money in politics. I’ve always believed when people give big money, they — maybe silently — expect something in return.”
Dole was also unsure of how successful his own political career would have been had he been forced to run for Congress or the presidency under the current social, economical and political atmosphere.
“I don’t think so,” Dole said in response to whether he would have been the Republican presidential nominee if money was a major factor. “And I might not be conservative enough to be the nominee today,” he added.
Dole’s statements are certainly more aligned with speeches, legislation and protests aimed at curbing the influence of money in politics that members of the Democratic Party have attempted to do over the last decade or so.
In 2002, a bipartisan effort from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was crafted to curtail the amount of money that political campaigns could receive from outside groups.
A more recent matter was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, where the justices ruled there cannot be limits to the amount of outside monetary donations from groups.
According to The Hill, June 30 was the deadline for campaign fundraising for the second quarter of the year. So far, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has raised $45 million, a record once held by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign fundraising of $42 million in 2011.
Fellow Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders has reportedly raised $8 million so far, according to CNN. Republican challengers, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, are expected to release double-digit numbers in the coming days.
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