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Campaign Finance

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					2 March, 2011
Campaign Money

 A good candidate and a good message are not enough.
  Without money, the voters do not see the candidate or
  hear the message.
 In contemporary candidate-centered campaigns,
  candidates (as opposed to the party organizations) must
  assemble their own campaign teams, raise their own
  money, hire consultants and technical specialists, and
  design and execute their own individual campaign
  strategies.
 Recent elections reflect the rise in cost.
The Rising Cost of Campaigns
The 2010 U.S. Congressional election




Source: Federal election commission
see also opensecrets.org
Party Spending in Western Europe
Attitudes about Campaign Finance
Should Campaign Finances be Regulated?

 Should parties and candidates receive public money?
 If not, should there be limits on the amount of the
  contributions?
 If so, what implications does that have for the electoral
  process?
 Should parties and candidates be required to disclose the
  sources of their contributions?
Regulating Campaign Money in the United
States

 Taxpayers partially finance presidential campaigns, but
  most of the money spent on congressional elections comes
  from private sources.
 But money is distributed very unequally, thus its role in
  electoral politics threatens democratic equality and raises
  the suspicion that elected officials will serve as the agents
  of their contributors rather than their constituents.
Efforts to Regulate Campaign Money

 As campaigns became more candidate-centered and
  broadcast campaigning became the standard, costs
  increased the demand for money, but many began to fear
  that winners would favor contributors over constituents.
 The legal response to this situation was the Federal
  Election Campaign Act of 1971.
Efforts to Regulate Campaign Money

 Prior to the 1970s campaign money was effectively
  unregulated.
 Congress had passed some limits on contributions and
  spending.
 The Corrupt Practices Act of 1925, which placed
  unrealistically low limits on spending in congressional
  elections, was in force for more than four decades, but no
  one was prosecuted under the act.
Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA)

   Required candidates running for political office disclose an
    itemized accounting of all expenditures and donations of
    more than $100.
FECA 1974

 Instituted a system for public financing of presidential
  elections.
 Limited individuals to $1,000 and $5,000 for groups.
  Created political action committees (PACs)
 Spending limits were also set for congressional races
Legal Challenges

 In Buckley v. Valeo (1976) the Supreme Court upheld the
  reporting requirements and contribution limits, but
  rejected spending limits on the grounds that they
  interfered with political speech.
 Also rules that individuals could spend unlimited amounts
  of money on the election or defeat a candidate as long as
  those expenditures were not coordinated with the
  candidate or party campaigns.
 Candidate self-financing-the “millionaire’s exception”.
Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission
(2010)

 Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that corporations have the
  same speech rights enjoyed by people
 The Mcain-Feingold Act banned corporations and unions
  from broadcasting “electioneering communications” in the
  30 days before a presidential primary and 60 days prior to
  a general election
 The court’s decision strikes down this law and means that
  spending by corporations cannot be regulated.
 A survey conducted after the decision indicated that 80
  percent opposed the decision with little difference between
  Republicans and Democrats
Campaign Finance in the UK

 Broadcast media provide free time to parties for political
  advertising
 Private TV companies are forbidden to charge money for
  advertising political parties and other political
  organisations
 Cost of campaigns, while increasing, is not as high as in
  the US.
The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums
Act (2000)

 Established the Electoral Commission which overseas the use of
  advertising in elections.
 Act specifies that gifts to parties in excess of £5,000 nationally and
  £1,000 locally are now publically declared
 Anonymous donations of more than £200 are prohibited
 The Act also limited campaign spending at national level in general
  elections. The ceiling was set at £30,000 per constituency, so if a
  party contested all 641 seats, the ceiling would be £19,230,000.
Campaign Finance in Comparative Perspective

				
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