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

Policy Primer: Taxpayer-Financed Campaigns – A Costly and Failed Policy

Often euphemistically referred to as “clean elections” or public financing, taxpayer-financed campaign programs seek to replace private, voluntary contributions from citizens to their favored candidates with government grants of taxpayer dollars to candidates who meet certain requirements. Commonly promoted as a cure-all for improving government and reducing corruption, an evaluation of Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine’s […]

Filed Under: External Relations Sub-Pages, Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Handouts, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Center for Competitive Politics, clean elections, corruption, Fraud, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New York

Solicitation and Coordination

  It’s frustrating for an academic when one’s work is misinterpreted. It’s even more frustrating when that misinterpretation is your own fault, and the “misinterpretation” bears an uncanny resemblance to what you actually wrote. This arises because there seems to be a growing debate over whether a candidate can solicit funds for a Super PAC […]

Filed Under: Blog, Bob Bauer, Bradley Smith, contributions, coordinated expenditures, coordination, corruption, Richard Briffault, Richard Hasen, solicitation, super PACs

'Super PACs' and the Role of 'Coordination' in Campaign Finance Law

In the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the Court struck down a federal ban on independent expenditures in political campaigns by corporations. The Court held that independent spending could not create the type of “corruption” that the Court has recognized as a compelling government interest sufficient to overcome the intrusion of […]

Filed Under: Coordination, External Relations Sub-Pages, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issues, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Super PACs, Super PACs, Bradley A. Smith, Buckley v. Valeo, Center for Competitive Politics, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, coordination, corruption, money in politics, SpeechNow.org, super PACs, Supreme Court, Willamette Law Review, Coordination, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Coordination, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation

The Meaning of Corruption: A (not so) Quick Reply to David Gans

David Gans has posted a reply to my recent piece on the meaning of corruption in campaign finance law, again asserting that “dependence” corruption, the “corruption of institutions,” is the justification for laws limiting political participation. Gans’ reply is off-base is a variety of ways. He simply reads my whole post incorrectly, and then reasserts […]

Filed Under: Blog, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, McCutcheon v. FEC Other Links, Buckley v. Valeo, corruption, Federalist Papers, Gans, Lessig, Madison, McCutcheon

UPDATED: Issue Analysis No. 5: Do Lower Contribution Limits Decrease Public Corruption?

Note: This report is an updated version of an Issue Analysis originally published by the Center for Competitive Politics in January 2009. This version has been edited to reflect contribution limits from the 2011-2012 election cycle and corruption data, from 2001-2010. Advocates of campaign finance regulation often claim that contributions to political candidates must be limited […]

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Handouts, Contribution Limits State, Contributions & Limits, Faulty Assumptions, Research, State, Campaign Contribution Limits, Center for Competitive Politics, corruption, Issue Analysis 5, Luke Wachob, Matt Nese, money in politics, the 50 states, U.S. Census Bureau, Contribution Limits, Faulty Assumptions, Contributions & Limits, Faulty Assumptions, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District Of Columbia, 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