Political Committees & 527s

Legislative Review: 2013 State Legislative Trends – Campaign Contribution Limits Increase in Nine States

As this Legislative Review explains, a Center for Competitive Politics’ survey of 2013 state legislative activity shows that nine states – Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wyoming – raised or eliminated various campaign contribution limits last year. Five states increased their limits by 100% or more, two more increased their […]

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Handouts, Contribution Limits State, Contributions & Limits, External Relations Sub-Pages, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties, Research, 50 State Survey, Alabama, Arizona, Campaign Contribution Limits, Center for Competitive Politics, Connecticut, Corporate to Candidate Contributions, First Amendment, Florida, Illinois, Incumbency Protection, Independent Expenditures, independent spending, Individual to Candidate Contributions, Luke Wachob, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, PACs, Political Parties, State Legislative Activity, super PACs, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming, Contribution Limits, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties, Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming

Campaign Spending and Electoral Competition: Towards More Policy Relevant Research

Despite long-standing scholarly literature on the electoral effects of campaign spending, academic research provides little practical policy guidance. In part, this is because existing studies have focused narrowly on some vexing statistical issues, while ignoring many others. However, this is also because political scientists have not devoted enough effort to conducting evaluation studies of how […]

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Expenditure, External Relations Sub-Pages, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Political Parties, Research, campaign finance, campaign finance reform, campaign spending, First Amendment, Jeff Milyo, money in politics, political science research, Contribution Limits, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Political Committees & 527s

Richer Parties, Better Politics? Party-Centered Campaign Finance Laws and American Democracy

Campaign finance laws effect how money is channeled through organizations to influence elections. In contrast to most other democracies, American campaign finance laws have been designed to be “candidate-centered” with relatively weak political parties. Additionally, recent trends have seen independent forms of speech such as political action committees (PACs) and Super PACs become much more […]

Filed Under: Contributions & Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties, Research, campaign contributions, campaign finance, campaign finance reform, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, money in politics, Political Parties, Raymond La Raja, super PACs, Contribution Limits, Independent Speech, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Independent Speech, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties

Move to Defend: The Case against the Constitutional Amendments Seeking to Overturn Citizens United

In this essay, CCP Academic Advisor John Samples looks at the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. It found that Congress lacked the power to prohibit independent spending on electoral speech by corporations. A later lower-court decision, SpeechNow v. Federal Election Commission, applied Citizens United to such spending and related fundraising by individuals. Concerns about the […]

Filed Under: First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Committees & 527s, Research, Super PACs, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Political Committees & 527s, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Political Committees & 527s

Poll: Voters, Fueled by Media Reports, Show Misunderstanding of Citizens United

Two years and two election cycles into the Super PAC era, the media firestorm against free speech and association has been palpable. A Google search of the term “Super PAC” reveals dozens of articles warning about the evils of such entities and their supposed negative impact on democracy. Many news accounts mislead or confuse readers […]

Filed Under: First Amendment, Independent Speech, Research, Super PACs, Faulty Assumptions, Political Committees & 527s, Faulty Assumptions, Political Committees & 527s, Poll, District Of Columbia

Keep Out: How State Campaign Finance Laws Erect Barriers to Entry for Political Entrepreneurs

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

Better Parties, Better Government: A Realistic Program for Campaign Finance Reform

In Better Parties, Better Government: A Realistic Program for Campaign Finance Reform (Washington, D.C.:  American Enterprise Institute Press, 2009), authors Joel M. Gora and Peter J. Wallison conduct a significant survey of campaign finance regulations beginning in the early 1970’s.

The authors assert that most of the provisions enacted over the past several decades have failed to achieve their goal of limiting corruption and instead have acted to strengthen the incumbency advantage. According to Gora and Wallison, “the current campaign finance system works to assist the campaigns of those who created it.”

After their exhaustive look at the history of campaign finance reform measures, Gora and Wallison examine past and current alternatives to remedy the broken system. They conclude that most reform schemes further the incumbency advantage, with taxpayer financed campaigns and contribution limits being the biggest offenders in this regard.

To remedy this issue, the authors demonstrate that the best and most effective way to fix the current incumbent-advantaged system would be to ease the coordination restrictions on parties, allowing them to become the principle campaign financier. Ultimately, the authors argue that this single change in the current system would have substantial benefits for the American election model.

Filed Under: Coordination, Political Parties, Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, campaign contributions, Contribution, Contribution Limits, Coordination, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Coordination, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties

Free Speech and the 527 Prohibition

Stephen M. Hoersting’s briefing paper for Cato Institute questions the constitutionality and wisdom of regulating independent Section 527 organizations. He believes that measures to make independent section 527 organizations into “political committees” under the Federal Election Campaign Act, would leave much activity unregulated and would induce a shift of activity from one legal structure to another, thus rendering any perceived partisan advantage arising from the measures improbable or incalculable. Therefore, says Hoersting, organizations engaged in independent speech and association with no connection to candidates or officeholders cannot be made to register with the Federal Election Commission simply because they mention candidates.

Filed Under: Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, Political Committees & 527s, Political Committees & 527s

Direct Democracy Works

Until recently, direct democracy scholarship was primarily descriptive or normative. Much of it sought to highlight the processes’ shortcomings. In this paper, John G. Matsusaka describes new research that examines direct democracy from a more scientific perspective. We organize the discussion around four “old” questions that have long been at the heart of the direct […]

Filed Under: Expenditure, First Amendment, Issue Advocacy, Political Committees & 527s, Research, committees, democracy, expenditure, John Matsusaka, money, Political Parties, super PACs, voter, Expenditure, Issue Advocacy, Petition Rights, Political Committees & 527s, Expenditure, Issue Advocacy, Petition Rights, Political Committees & 527s

Pay to Play: Parties, Interests, and Money in Federal Elections

This chapter first appeared in The Medium and the Message:  Television Advertising and American Elections, edited by Kenneth Goldstein and Patricia Strach (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice Hall, 2004), pp. 127-154. In “Pay to Play:  Parties, Interests, and Money in Federal Elections,” Parker and Coleman offer a brief history of campaign finance reform.

Beginning with the Progressive Era, the authors explain the role of money in the relationship between political parties and public interests. From this synopsis, Parker and Coleman extrapolate four impetuses for reform of the campaign finance system:  reaction to perceived instances of corruption, expansion or contraction of the national state, increase in the participation by private interests using independent means to influence the electoral process, and mobilization considerations pertaining to party involvement and strength. By examining these themes, the authors propose that the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act fails to understand the complex institutional interplay between parties, groups, and candidates, ultimately increasing the prevalence of interest groups, despite the law’s intent to do the opposite. The authors also highlight the fact that campaign finance reforms are often self-interested.

Filed Under: Uncategorized, Political Committees & 527s, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties