Working to find actionable solutions to the nation's key challenges.

The State of Campaign Finance in the U.S.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page
Download the Report

The State of Campaign Finance in the U.S.

The U.S. campaign finance system has undergone fundamental changes in the last 15 years. The law has changed, as the courts have sharply limited Congress’s authority to regulate corporate and union election expenditures and have created new vehicles for money to flow into election campaigns. The politics of campaign finance has changed, as these new actors, especially Super PACs, have grown in significance and redefined the roles of insiders and outsiders to the electoral system. The technology has changed, as the internet, social media, and mobile devices have chipped away at television as the predominant mode of political campaigning.

The goal of this report and the larger research effort that produced it is to clarify the dynamics of the modern campaign finance system in the United States. 

Relying on new research from several of the nation’s foremost experts on the topic, this report—authored by Nathaniel Persily, Robert F. Bauer, and Benjamin L. Ginsberg—attempts to assess these changes. The goal of this report and the larger research effort that produced it is to clarify the dynamics of the modern campaign finance system in the United States. To this end, the effort produced a set of studies and a bipartisan report drawn from the best social science relating to the changing dynamics of the U.S. campaign finance system. The report examines the legal, political, and technological shifts that have combined to shape the current campaign finance regime.

Additional Research

Trends in Campaign Financing, 1980-2016

Zachary Albert

READ MORE

Donor Networks and Their Influence in Congressional Primaries, 1980-2014

Zachary Albert, Bruce A. Desmarais, and Raymond J. La Raja

READ MORE

Funding the State Political Party Committees Pre- and Post-BCRA, 1999–2016

Edwin Bender and the National Institute of Money in State Politics

READ MORE

Avenues of Influence: On the Political Expenditures of Corporations and their Directors and Executives

Adam Bonica

READ MORE

Political Parties and Campaign Finance What Role Do the National Parties Play?

Diana Dwyre

READ MORE

Motivations of Political Contributors: An Audit

Eitan D. Hersh and Brian F. Schaffner

READ MORE

The Impact of Organizational Characteristics on Super PAC Financing and Independent Expenditures

Paul S. Hernson

READ MORE

Costs, Spending and Contributions Literature

Robin Kolodny

READ MORE

The Role of Interest Groups and Outside Money in Federal Elections: What We Know and What We Don’t Know

David B. Magleby

READ MORE

Campaign Finance: Some Basics

Kenneth R. Mayer and Elizabeth M. Sawyer

READ MORE

Public Attitudes and Campaign Finance

Jeffrey D. Milyo and David M. Primo

READ MORE

Report on Outside Group Activity, 2000-2016: Assessing Dark Money Trends & Magnitude

Wesleyan Media Project and the Center for Responsive Politics

READ MORE

Partners

This report was produced in partnership with the following organizations.

KEYWORDS: PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON ELECTION ADMINISTRATION, BOB BAUER, BEN GINSBERG, NATE PERSILY, CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Attached files