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Soft money

Soft money refers to money used to advance a particular political campaign in such a manner as to skirt the legal limits on how much money individuals or organizations are allowed to contribute to political campaigns (termed hard money[?]). Popular soft money techniques include paying for thinly veiled advertising that does not name a specific candidate by name, but focuses so narrowly on particular issues tied to a given campaign that it is obvious which contest the advertisement is targeted at and which candidate the ad supports.

Soft money contributions were generally made illegal in the United States in 2002 with passage of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act[?], but opponents of the bill managed to create a number of loopholes through amendments. Previously, President George W. Bush had indicated absolute opposition to the bill, but as it was passed in the midst of the corporate scandals of 2002, a public relations nightmare for the Republican Party, and in particular at a time when allegations of impropriety were being levied against Vice President Dick Cheney for his dealings with Enron, Bush quietly signed it.

In academics, "soft money" can refer to funding through individual research grants, rather than a salary via an academic institution.

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