Campaign Finance Squirrel hoarder In FAVOR of raising taxes on orphanages Took year-long vacation Proposed a bill that would give TREES the right to vote Is, in fact, three ducks in a man costume* * According to Weekly World News Cut taxes by 200% End the squirrel occupation Stop frivolous spending All your dreams will come true! PAID FOR BY AMERICANS FOR TRUTH Campaign Finance – How Much $$$? • Approximately $7 BILLION was spent during the 2012 election • That amounts to $54 spent for every person who voted • In some states, that number was more than double Why spend on elections? • • • • Change government policy Values Self-interest Influence government officials? How do you “spend” on an election? 2 ways: - Direct contribution (Can be regulated) - Independent Expenditure Express advocacy (Much harder to regulate) Issue advocacy (Only can regulate timing) How do we regulate? • Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - 1972 • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA or McCain-Feingold) - 2002 Opinion Poll Money = Speech? • In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court essentially said that in fact spending money in express advocacy is equivalent to speech • But, contributing directly to a candidate or political party isn’t, at least to the same degree People vs. Corporations • Citizens United – Corporate speech needs to be protected just like individual speech • Justifications like “distortion” aren’t good anymore • Dissenting Supreme Court Justices (and many others) still concerned How is spending regulated? - Independent expenditure limits – No good - Contribution limits – On the way out? • Limits on the amount of contributions to individual candidates are still OK • Limits on your total amount contributions are not OK as of last year (McCutcheon) - Disclosure rules - Public financing Going forward • Little room for increased spending control – the only justification is preventing “quid pro quo” corruption or its appearance • The money always finds a way in • Contribution limits may be the next to go down • Think about who’s behind the message and the candidate!