Jurisprudence & Litigation

The Hydraulics of Campaign Finance Reform

In this Texas Law Review article, authors Samuel Issacharoff and Pamela S. Karlan explain how campaign finance “reform” proposals often go awry. According to Issacharoff and Karlan, it doesn’t take an Einstein to discern a First Law of Political Thermodynamics – the desire for political power cannot be destroyed, but at most, channeled into different forms […]

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Parties, Research, Buckley v. Valeo, Federal Election Campaign Act, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Parties

Buckley v. Valeo: A Landmark of Political Freedom

In this article, Joel M. Gora examines the much debated Supreme Court decision in Buckley v. Valeo, which, in legitimizing money spent to influence elections as a constitutionally protected form of speech, upheld a bevy of speech-stifling campaign finance regulations, including federal limits on campaign contributions to candidates. In his analysis, Gora notes that the effect of these contribution limits has been to aid the incumbency advantage in elections. In addition, Gora finds fault with the failure to raise federal contribution limits since they were originally enacted then-25 years prior, completely neglecting inflationary market trends. This article continues by extensively highlighting the manner in which campaign finance laws have consistently failed to achieve their goals. Since its publication in 1999, Gora has concluded that the easing of restrictions on political parties is the best route to a more efficient and effective political system. Furthermore, although he offers support for a moderated system of taxpayer financed campaigns in this article, Gora has since reversed his opinion and no longer supports taxpayer financed elections due to their ineffective and partially unconstitutional nature. Nevertheless, this powerful review of the Buckley v. Valeo decision illuminates the negative consequences it has had on political participation in American elections.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Enforcement, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Contribution Limits, Enforcement, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Contributions & Limits, Enforcement, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Campaign Finance “Reform” Proposals: A First Amendment Analysis

In the wake of recent reports of questionable campaign finance practices have come ever more draconian proposals to “reform” the campaign finance system. Those proposals pose a disturbing threat to the individual political freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. Under current precedents, none of them could survive a First Amendment challenge.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Enforcement, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Committees & 527s, Research, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Political Money and Freedom of Speech

This study challenges the orthodoxy that political money must be limited.  The author first outlines the current law of political money and proposals for reform, and then critically examines reformers’ arguments by examining the political and constitutional theories that refute them.  She concludes by noting that the best way to resolve the anomalies in the current campaign finance landscape may be to eliminate contribution limits entirely.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties, Research