By Joe Albanese and Brad Smith
“Money in politics” obsessives have long been frustrated at the lack of scholarly support for the notion that political spending directly alters legislative votes, which would help them to push for greater political speech restrictions. This complaint is a central theme of a new report by the progressive Roosevelt Institute, which the institute claims finally proves the link between money and policy.
The authors look at House Democrats who voted for financial regulations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, but then voted to amend it in later years. They claim that political spending by the “finance industry” caused these Democrats to suspiciously “change their minds” – as if nobody can support a law while hoping to improve parts of it. The study’s methods discredit its conclusion…
Restricting how campaigns are financed necessarily involves limiting the speech and political activity needed to bring about political change. If this is the best evidence for claiming systemic corruption, there is little corresponding benefit from regulating campaign finance.
Washington Examiner: New study fails to prove that money sways politicians, despite activists’ excitement (In the News)
By Joe Albanese and Brad Smith
A debate about taxpayer-financing of political campaigns has sprung up in New Hampshire over the last few weeks. The discussion began when former Vice President Joe Biden visited the Granite State in late April, making headlines when he told a crowd that taxpayer financing would “change the whole damn world.” Progressives have long touted publicly-funded […]
A new study on the impact of “money in politics” has been released by the Roosevelt Institute, and sympathetic outlets are already hailing it as a vindication of those who long argued that political spending directly influences policymaking in government. Despite its headline-grabbing claims, however, the study exaggerates the scale of political spending, overestimates its […]
Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, bribery, corruption, Dodd-Frank, Jie Chen, Paul Jorgensen, Roosevelt Institute, Thomas Ferguson
On Monday, the American Enterprise Institute hosted an event titled “Is Congress Broken?” It featured contributing authors and editors of a book by the same name, published by the Brookings Institution. Those individuals were William F. Connelly, Jr. of Washington and Lee University, Kathryn L. Pearson of the University of Minnesota, Jonathan Rauch of the […]
Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, Donald Wolfensberger, Gary J. Schmitt, Gridlock, Jonathan Rauch, Kathryn L. Pearson, Political Parties, William F. Connelly Jr.
On Monday, the Cato Institute hosted a forum to discuss Floyd Abrams’s new book, The Soul of the First Amendment. Abrams is well known as a scholar and litigator of free speech issues. He is Senior Counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and has been involved in numerous Supreme Court cases, including the famous […]
Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Cato Institute, First Amendment, Floyd Abrams, free speech, Ilya Shapiro, Roger Pilon, Ronald Collins, The Soul of the First Amendment
By Joe Albanese
The way the term “special interests” is used in practice suggests that it’s simply shorthand for “bad thing my opponent supports.” After all, depending on one’s views, “special interests” may encompass big business or big labor, fossil fuel or green energy companies, and single-issue and ideological groups like the Club for Growth or EMILY’s List.
In fact, one can fairly say that all of those groups are “special interests.” And that’s okay.
“Special interests” – or the more fitting term, advocacy groups – simplify democracy rather than subvert it. Most Americans don’t have the time or ability to analyze legislation, organize grassroots activity, or follow the ins and outs of the political process. Advocacy groups bridge the gap between citizens and government. They communicate their members’ views to public officials and inform the public of important political developments. For every advocacy group with one viewpoint, there is almost certainly another one making the opposite case. Some groups you’ll support, and others you’ll oppose, but they all contribute to the exchange of ideas that makes democracy work.
The outsized attention being paid to a few special elections means an early opportunity for the politically active to create favorable momentum going into the 2018 midterms. Consequently, it also means the return of the perennially favorite election narrative: “shady, out-of-state money is drowning out local voters!” That’s the overarching message of an article from […]
When Ann Ravel resigned from her post at the Federal Election Commission earlier this year, she made it clear that her activism would continue from outside the agency. To that end, she wrote an op-ed last week in the San Francisco Chronicle advocating for a bill in Congress entitled the “No PAC Act” (H.R. 1743). […]
Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Ann Ravel, corruption, Fundraising, No PAC Act, PACs, Political Committees, Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia
Last week, the “business” section of The Atlantic published an article about modern philanthropy in American society, touching upon a new book on the topic by writer David Callahan. The premise of The Atlantic piece is that wealthy donors use their philanthropic giving to unduly influence American society and politics – not just through policy […]
Last week, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) published a blog post about the dismal track record of self-funding candidates who run for elected office. In the 2016 election cycle, such candidates only won their races about 12.5% of the time. Suffice it to say, eschewing fundraising does not tend to be a winning strategy. […]