Jurisprudence & Litigation

Much More of the Same: Television Advertising Pre- and Post-BCRA

This chapter first appeared in The Election After Reform:  Money, Politics, and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, edited by Michael J. Malbin (Lanham, Md.:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), pp. 139-162. In “Much More of the Same:  Television Advertising Pre- and Post-BCRA,” Franz et al. examine the impact of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) on campaign advertising.

After BCRA was passed, signed into law by former President Bush, and upheld by the Supreme Court, many analysts predicted that the shape and volume of television advertising would look drastically different in a post-BCRA world.  This chapter examines that notion and concludes that analysts’ predictions were drastically off the mark. In general, this study highlights three major points:  (1) the most important independent variable in almost every major model of political advertising remains the competitiveness of the race, despite changes prescribed by BCRA; (2) the “stand by your ad” provision of BCRA had negligible effects on the tone of advertising; and (3) interest groups and soft money continued to play a major role, albeit in different forms. Accordingly, the authors show that advertising in post-BCRA America is largely the same as in pre-BCRA America.

Filed Under: Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Stand By Your Ad, Uncategorized, Issue Advocacy, Issue Advocacy, Stand By Your Ad

Perceptions of Corruption and Campaign Finance: When Public Opinion Determines Constitutional Law

In this article, authors Nathaniel Persily and Kelli Lammie, test the empirical assumptions about American public opinion found in the Supreme Court’s opinions in campaign finance jurisprudence. The area of campaign finance is a unique one in First Amendment law because the Court has allowed the mere perception of a problem (in this case, corruption) […]

Filed Under: Contributions & Limits, Faulty Assumptions, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Money in Politics, Research, Buckley v. Valeo, Confidence in Government, First Amendment, Kelly Lammie, McConnell v. FEC, money in politics, Nathaniel Persily, Public Corruption, Public Opinion Polling, Supreme Court, Contribution Limits, Faulty Assumptions, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Contributions & Limits, Faulty Assumptions, Jurisprudence & Litigation

The Hydraulics of Campaign Finance Reform

In this Texas Law Review article, authors Samuel Issacharoff and Pamela S. Karlan explain how campaign finance “reform” proposals often go awry. According to Issacharoff and Karlan, it doesn’t take an Einstein to discern a First Law of Political Thermodynamics – the desire for political power cannot be destroyed, but at most, channeled into different forms […]

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Parties, Research, Buckley v. Valeo, Federal Election Campaign Act, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Parties

Buckley v. Valeo: A Landmark of Political Freedom

In this article, Joel M. Gora examines the much debated Supreme Court decision in Buckley v. Valeo, which, in legitimizing money spent to influence elections as a constitutionally protected form of speech, upheld a bevy of speech-stifling campaign finance regulations, including federal limits on campaign contributions to candidates. In his analysis, Gora notes that the effect of these contribution limits has been to aid the incumbency advantage in elections. In addition, Gora finds fault with the failure to raise federal contribution limits since they were originally enacted then-25 years prior, completely neglecting inflationary market trends. This article continues by extensively highlighting the manner in which campaign finance laws have consistently failed to achieve their goals. Since its publication in 1999, Gora has concluded that the easing of restrictions on political parties is the best route to a more efficient and effective political system. Furthermore, although he offers support for a moderated system of taxpayer financed campaigns in this article, Gora has since reversed his opinion and no longer supports taxpayer financed elections due to their ineffective and partially unconstitutional nature. Nevertheless, this powerful review of the Buckley v. Valeo decision illuminates the negative consequences it has had on political participation in American elections.

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

Campaign Finance “Reform” Proposals: A First Amendment Analysis

In the wake of recent reports of questionable campaign finance practices have come ever more draconian proposals to “reform” the campaign finance system. Those proposals pose a disturbing threat to the individual political freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. Under current precedents, none of them could survive a First Amendment challenge.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Enforcement, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Committees & 527s, Research, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Political Money and Freedom of Speech

This study challenges the orthodoxy that political money must be limited.  The author first outlines the current law of political money and proposals for reform, and then critically examines reformers’ arguments by examining the political and constitutional theories that refute them.  She concludes by noting that the best way to resolve the anomalies in the current campaign finance landscape may be to eliminate contribution limits entirely.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties, Research

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