Campaign Finance

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!
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
Why spend on elections?
Change government policy
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
People vs. Corporations
• Citizens United – Corporate speech needs to
be protected just like individual speech
• Justifications like “distortion” aren’t good
• 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
• Think about who’s behind the message and
the candidate!