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Political Spending: Civic Engagement is Not a Threat to Democracy

January 1, 2018  •  By IFS Staff  •    •  

The First Amendment guarantees every American freedom of speech. That freedom includes the right to spend money on speech. Without money, a political group cannot buy ads, print fliers, organize protests, or hire staff. Short of shouting one’s opinions on a street corner, it takes money to spread a message. Recognizing this relationship, the Supreme Court has long prohibited the…

Free Speech Promotes Healthy Democracy in Virginia

July 9, 2019   •  By Mark D'Ostilio   •  , , ,

When it comes to the First Amendment, the people of Virginia should be proud of their laws, and the nation should take notice as ...

H.R. 1 Resource Guide

H.R. 1, better known as the “For the Politicians Act,” would institute sweeping new limitations on speech about campaigns and public affairs. In response, ...

Record campaign spending for election is good for democracy

November 19, 2018   •  By Luke Wachob   •  ,

Election Day is like the Kentucky Derby for political nerds. It does not happen out of nowhere. A lot of people donate a lot ...

Money Doesn’t Buy Elections, “Dark Money” Keeps Falling, and Other Lessons from the 2018 Midterms

November 9, 2018   •  By Scott Blackburn   •  ,

Over the past year, many pundits and media outlets have speculated about the role of money in the 2018 midterm elections. Much of that ...

Spooky Spending on Halloween: Pet Costumes Dwarf So-Called “Dark Money”

October 31, 2018   •  By Eric Peterson   •  ,

While the debate about what Halloween costumes are appropriate rages on, what isn’t up for debate is the greatness of the growing trend of ...

Advocacy Groups: Made from Love

October 19, 2018   •  By Eric Peterson   •  , ,

Another day, another accusation about paid protesters. As the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process moved to its final stages, President Trump took to Twitter to ...

“Dark Money” Documentary Warns Viewers of the Dangers of Postcards

October 4, 2018   •  By Eric Peterson   •  ,

Earlier this week, PBS aired the documentary, Dark Money. The film is directed and produced by Kimberly Reed, previously known for her autobiographical documentary, Prodigal Sons. Reed’s ...

Money spent in Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation battle is good for democracy

August 16, 2018   •  By David Keating   •  , ,

America enters a generational Supreme Court nomination battle divided. But one aspect of the fight over nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh shows our democracy is ...

2018 May Be the Year of the Political Outsider, No Thanks to Campaign Finance “Reform”

July 18, 2018   •  By Alex Baiocco   •  , , ,

At every level of government, 2018 is experiencing a surge in political outsiders and newcomers running for office. The moment is also notable for ...

Another Upstart Challenger Defeats a Drastically Better-Funded Opponent

July 9, 2018   •  By Scott Blackburn   •  ,

On June 26, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a challenger for New York’s 14th Congressional District, defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley. Crowley spent over $3.4 million. Ocasio-Cortez ...

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