In this essay, Cleta Mitchell, partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner LLP and a member of the firm’s Political Law Practice, examines campaign finance disclosure both as a policy and as a response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which freed corporations, labor unions, and trade […]
Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure State, External Relations Sub-Pages, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, campaign finance disclosure, campaign finance reform, Center for Competitive Politics, Citizens United v. FEC, Cleta Mitchell, Donor Disclosure, Foly & Lardner, money in politics, Disclosure, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Disclosure, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Minnesota
In this paper, CCP Academic Advisor Jeff Milyo tests the hypothesis that restrictive campaign finance laws improve citizens’ perceptions of government. The political and legal battle over campaign finance reform hinges on differing views about the importance of such regulations for preserving and enhancing the integrity of democracy. Milyo uses a novel data-set on individual-level […]
Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure, Enforcement, External Relations Sub-Pages, Faulty Assumptions, Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, campaign finance reform, clean elections, Contribution limits, Contribution Limits, Disclosure, Faulty Assumptions, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Faulty Assumptions, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns
The Center for Competitive Politics in cooperation with University of Missouri Professor Jeff Milyo included several questions in the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a national representative survey of 55,400 individuals. The CCES data includes a set of common content questions given to all participants and separate team content questions developed by the University of Missouri and administered to a nationally representative subset of 1,000 persons. A battery of eight campaign-finance-related questions was included in the Missouri team content; these are listed in full in the appendix.
We examine this data to learn what the average American thought about taxpayer-funded elections, contribution limits, the appearance of corruption, and disclosure. Since not just corruption, but the “appearance of corruption,” i.e. the public’s perception of the severity of corrupt practices in government bodies, has been given weight by the Supreme Court, we felt it was crucial to look at reliable data of a cross section of Americans and try to gain insight into their views, as well as to see how different wordings can skew the results in surveys on these topics.
Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Disclosure, Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Disclosure, Faulty Assumptions, Disclosure, Faulty Assumptions, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns
Full Disclosure: How Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws Fail to Inform Voters and Stifle Public Debate
Disclosure is intended to be a low-cost means of combating corruption by providing citizens with information about the funding sources and expenditures of groups that advocate for or against issues on the ballot. In practice, however, disclosure does little to inform voters while imposing onerous burdens on those wishing to participate in the democratic debate. […]
Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure State, External Relations Sub-Pages, Research, campaign finance reform, David Primo, Disclosure, Florida, institute for justice, Disclosure, Disclosure, Florida
In this article, Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl E. Schneider examine a variety of disclosure mandates to assess the overall utility of disclosure. As disclosure requirements can be found in a variety of areas, from campaign finance, insurance, and telecommunications to sales of goods and services, leases, and contracts, the authors were able to scrutinize the utility of this mandate from a multitude of views. Throughout this article, Ben-Shahar and Schneider document the failure of mandated disclosure to both inform people and improve their decisions. Because the incentives behind disclosure encourage excess, the authors note that disclosure is often extensive and overly broad, perversely misinforming those it intends to help. In this vein, the authors believe that mandated disclosure fails to achieve its goals and recommends that disclosure requirements be kept short, in order to better aid those seeking information. To this point, the authors’ comprehensive study is instructive in the campaign finance arena and calls into question the mantra many repeat that more disclosure is inherently better.
In this essay, Bruce Cain takes an interesting look at what many seem to believe is “the most widely embraced element of election regulation”: disclosure. Recognizing that disclosure is gaining traction in the evolution of election law and enforcement, Cain proposes that legislatures explore an option known as “semi-disclosure.” Essentially, a system of semi-disclosure would assign donor ID numbers to contributors and require full reporting, while making only some campaign donor information publicly available. Then, in the event of a corruption allegation, full disclosure information could be released to the public. In Cain’s view, this system has the opportunity to do the greatest good at reducing the likeliness of quid pro quo corruption while avoiding sacrificing protected political speech. As disclosure requirements continue to be discussed and debated across the United States, the author’s semi-disclosure proposal warrants consideration in policy circles.
For a response to the author’s semi-disclosure idea, please read the essay, “The Costs of Mandating Disclosure,” by John Samples.
In this essay, John Samples argues against the fundamental reasoning underlying campaign disclosure. According to Samples, mandating disclosure “both reflects and fosters the decline of self-government in the United States.” According to the essay, not only does forced disclosure fail to achieve its goals, but it has the opportunity to “raise the cost of political participation through political abuse and economic harms.” Samples also believes mandating disclosure deflects attention from the content of the message and instead undesirably shifts the focus to the source of the message’s funding. He acknowledges that Bruce Cain’s idea for “semi-disclosure” would be a noted improvement over the status quo in disclosure requirements, but ultimately rejects Cain’s idea because of the inability to ensure that disclosure information would not be used for political retribution.
For the original essay that this piece responds to, please read, “Shade from the Glare: The Case for Semi-Disclosure,” by Bruce Cain.
In this report, the author explains how forms of state legislation stifle the political speech of political entrepreneurs, those individuals and organizations who form and grow new political voices and movements. Specifically, the report examines the effects of two types of state campaign finance regulations that act as barriers to independent citizen groups: contribution limits and political action committee (PAC) requirements. A lack of appreciation for the role of political entrepreneurs in promoting innovative public policy and electoral competition on the part of those in power has resulted in the erection of barriers for outside groups who wish to speak out. The report concludes that instead of encouraging civic engagement, states are attacking independent political advocacy through unnecessary, speech-limiting regulations.
Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, External Relations Sub-Pages, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, Super PACs, campaign contributions, Contribution, Contribution Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, Political Committees & 527s, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Since then, congressional critics of the Court’s broad holding have promised a legislative “fix.” These Members believe that the decision to recognize constitutional protection for corporate (and labor) independent expenditures in federal elections will have a pernicious effect on American politics. Accordingly, on April 29, 2010, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen introduced the “DISCLOSE Act.”
The DISCLOSE Act contains two main features. First, it requires corporations to include certain notices in their expenditures and file additional disclosure reports. Second, the DISCLOSE Act identifies certain types of corporations that would not be permitted to make independent expenditures.Leaders in both the Senate and the House have promised expedited consideration of this legislation. The sponsors intend for it to enter into effect for much of the 2010 election cycle.
Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure, Research, campaign finance, campaign finance disclosure, DISCLOSE, Disclose Act, Disclosure, Coordination, Disclosure, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Coordination, Disclosure, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Stand By Your Ad