Take It to the Limit - and Beyond

The tricks and dodges that bust the Iowa spending cap

Consider this bizarre, but typical, routine from the 1988 presidential campaign: Bob Dole's Iowa campaign director often sleeps in Omaha or Moline, Ill. Or this more cynical aspect: young, fresh-faced volunteers for candidates in Iowa or New Hampshire sometimes receive their living expenses off the books, being handed $20 bills in out-of-the-way motel rooms.

The cause of these contortions is one of the worst election laws on the books, the Pollyannaish effort to limit the amount a campaign can spend in each state. Enacted in 1974 under the guise of fairness, these artificial ceilings are ludicrously low for the Iowa caucuses...

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