Recently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sat down with professor Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. In their conversation, they discussed voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and campaign finance. The result was an illuminating look at how the diverging perspectives of a populist socialist and a legal expert arrive at common policy […]
Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, Tax Financed Campaigns Federal, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing, Bernie Sanders, Buckley v. Valeo, Rick Hasen
The Center’s tenth issue analysis examines the claim by proponents of taxpayer-funded political campaigns that such systems improve the political process by exposing incumbent politicians to more competition and increasing the chance that challengers will defeat them in elections. If this claim is true, we would expect to find lower incumbent re-election rates in states […]
Filed Under: Blog, External Relations Sub-Pages, Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Handouts, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, CCEA, clean elections, Maine Clean Election Act, MCEA, public financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota
I recently watched the new Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, about the eponymous Republican political insider. The film traces Stone’s career from its beginnings with Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, to his current ties with President Trump. Overall, it was a fascinating film about an eccentric and notorious political insider, but one thing […]
Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Alexandra Pelosi, Donors, Get Me Roger Stone, Meet the Donors, Roger Stone
This week, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging restrictions on political party fundraising and spending in the McCain-Feingold Act. This left in place a lower-court ruling upholding these restrictions. Following the Court’s announcement, multiple commentators have noted the implications of the decision on future challenges to McCain-Feingold and even the strength of […]
Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Media Watch, Money in Politics, Bloomberg BNA, Clarence Thomas, Gorsuch, McCain-Feingold, Neil Gorsuch, Political Parties, Republican Party of Louisiana v. FEC, Roll Call, Supreme Court, US News & World Report
Washington Examiner: New study fails to prove that money sways politicians, despite activists’ excitement (In the News)
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.
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.