Citizens United; Political Campaigns; Campaign contributions


Since the founding of our democracy, attempts to curb the influence of money in the political process consistently fall short of their goal. In fact, a growing number of cynics see campaign finance reform—or any effort to reduce the impact of money in the political process—as inherently doomed to fail. With the recent dearth of meaningful campaign finance reform on the federal level in the post-Citizens United era, reform advocates must look to the states to explore and enact changes to the law that will promote a healthier role for money in politics. This Article reviews efforts to reform government in response to a growing body of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence eliminating existing campaign finance regulations. It analyzes four of the reforms gaining the most attention through the lens of how effectively each one advances one of the four primary interests that must drive the regulation of money in politics. Those interests, described in Part I of the Article, are (1) The Equality Interest; (2) The Information Interest; (3) The Participation Interest; and (4) The Anti-Corruption Interest. The Article ultimately asserts that each proposal, if championed alone, falls short of achieving reformers’ overall goal of a democracy that serves these four interests. It further contends that effective reform can only succeed at furthering the above interests if it is a comprehensive combination of all of the proposals. The Article concludes with a proposed road map towards advancing all reforms.



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