“Drain the Swamp” and Competing Conceptions of Corruption

Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) is a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and the latest conservative to come out with a book criticizing the sausage-making in Washington, D.C. In 2013, it was Peter Schweizer with Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets. In 2015, it was Jay Cost’s A […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, corruption, Drain the Swamp, Heritage Foundation, Ken Buck

Ravel’s Support for Ending PACs Exposes Her Long-Term Policy Goals

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

The Academy, Campaign Finance, and Free Speech Under Fire

In this short essay, Center for Competitive Politics Chairman and Co-Founder and Capital University Law School Professor Bradley A. Smith argues that academic efforts to fit campaign finance restrictions within the rubric of the First Amendment have distorted First Amendment doctrine and contributed to a decline in respect for free speech generally. Written as part […]

Filed Under: First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Bradley A. Smith, corruption, Larry Lessig, Richard Hasen, Robert Post, Zephyr Teachout, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Maine Activists Embrace Taxpayer Subsidies for Politicians in Ignorance of Systemic Flaws

In Maine, some speech regulatory activists are already celebrating the 2016 election cycle as an important milestone. Not because they are expecting higher voter turnout, more competitive races, or more women or minority candidates running for office. Rather, these activists are giddy that more politicians are taking the hard-earned dollars of Maine taxpayers to run […]

Filed Under: Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing, corruption, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Maine Clean Election Act, Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New York

Limiting Access to Lawmakers Would Stifle Representative Democracy

Media commentary about the fine line between political influence and corruption has been plentiful over the past week. Many different writers have expressed discomfort at the notion of donors to a private charity being granted meetings with senior State Department officials. Absent evidence of direct quid pro quo corruption, these writers have argued that providing […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Access, Buckley v. Valeo, Chief Justice John Roberts, corruption, Influence, Justice Anthony Kennedy, McDonnell v. United States

Melania Trump Controversy Shows the Silliness of Campaign Finance Laws

The controversy over Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention – well, one of them anyway – is a reminder that much of the debate over campaign finance regulation has nothing to do with preventing corruption. An employee of the Trump Organization, Meredith McIver, wrote the speech, leading many in the pro-regulation community to suspect […]

Filed Under: Blog, corporate contributions, corruption, Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Meredith McIver, Republican National Convention

Where’s the corruption in speaking to voters?

This week, Senate Democrats unveiled their plan to get favorable media coverage this election season: grandstand on a package of nonstarter proposals to radically expand laws regulating political speech. (I guess because it worked so well in 2014?) If the proposals are sincere, they are also woefully misguided. The rollout of the talking points gave […]

Filed Under: Blog, Money in Politics, Super PACs, "We The People" Act, corruption, Merrick Garland, Senator Al Franken, Senator Jerry Moran

The Regulation of Political Finance and Corruption

In this article, authors Avi Ben-Bassat and Momi Dahan use the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) database on political finance regulations for 82 countries to examine the effect campaign contribution limits have on political corruption. Upon analyzing the data, after controlling for a standard list of explanatory variables, the authors found that […]

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Research, corruption, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits

15 Things Vox Forgot to Mention about “Money in Politics” (Part II)

Vox.com’s “40 charts that explain money in politics” fails miserably at, well, explaining money in politics. The charts seem to be less an explanation and more unproven innuendo about why money is supposedly ruining American democracy. What the collection of charts does do, however, is provide a window into some of the common misconceptions about […]

Filed Under: Blog, Money in Politics, corruption, Disclosure, Good Governance, Vox

Calling Campaign Legal Center: Incorruptible Oregon refuses to get with the program

A couple weeks ago, the Campaign Legal Center’s lobbyist, Meredith McGehee, took the pages of The Hill to excoriate Virginia for not passing more campaign finance restrictions. Because Virginia has “few restrictions on money in campaigns,” the ethics and bribery trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell, she assured her readers, was pretty much a foregone conclusion. […]

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Campaign Legal Center, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, City University Hong Kong, Contribution limits, corruption, Indiana University, Meredith McGehee, Oregon, Blog (Contribution Limits), Oregon, Utah