Rethinking Campaign Finance Prohibitions

This article examines the evolution of campaign finance legislation and its complex and often contradictory regulations.  The author also questions the types of reform legislation often passed in the wake of public scandal and suggests that these often do nothing to address the specifics of a particular scandal or act.  Finally, the article examines whether campaign finance rules as they exist today are a result of experience and considered policymaking by Congress and suggests that if they are not, that it maybe past the time to step back and reconsider the law’s scope, in particular its prohibitions upon certain entities from participating.

Filed Under: Research, Contribution Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Contributions & Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation

When Do War Chests Deter?

In this article, Jay Goodliffe presents a “repeated election model of campaign fund-raising and spending,” in which incumbents are allowed to form war chests with saved money from previous elections. Goodliffe explores when war chests are most important and what type of incumbent finds it prudent to create them. He finds that strong incumbents are the least likely to find it necessary to create a large war chest while medium-strength incumbents most often attempt to build a sizeable war chest. After his analysis, Goodliffe determines that it is not weak incumbents who build large war chests, but rather it is medium-strength incumbents, who are at least likely to defeat a challenger in a given election. This is an important departure from conventional wisdom regarding war chests and an interesting take on campaign finance savings.

Filed Under: Research, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.