Washington Examiner: New study fails to prove that money sways politicians, despite activists’ excitement (In the News)

Washington Examiner: New study fails to prove that money sways politicians, despite activists’ excitement 

By Joe Albanese and Brad Smith

“Money in politics” obsessives have long been frustrated at the lack of scholarly support for the notion that political spending directly alters legislative votes, which would help them to push for greater political speech restrictions. This complaint is a central theme of a new report by the progressive Roosevelt Institute, which the institute claims finally proves the link between money and policy.

The authors look at House Democrats who voted for financial regulations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, but then voted to amend it in later years. They claim that political spending by the “finance industry” caused these Democrats to suspiciously “change their minds” – as if nobody can support a law while hoping to improve parts of it. The study’s methods discredit its conclusion. (A more in-depth critique can be found here)…

Restricting how campaigns are financed necessarily involves limiting the speech and political activity needed to bring about political change. If this is the best evidence for claiming systemic corruption, there is little corresponding benefit from regulating campaign finance. 

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