Now that the first election conducted under the new campaign finance laws has come and gone, a little post-mortem is in order. By any objective standard, it has been an abject failure.
Ostensibly, campaign finance reform (CFR) was supposed to deliver us from the evil of the "special interests" and their "soft money", (contributions that can't be given or spent directly on behalf of a candidate, like "hard" dollars can). We were told that they had hijacked our political system.
We were told that CFR (as they envisioned it) was a necessary trade-off tighter restrictions on free speech in exchange for a reduction of the influence of money in the political process.