Campaign finance

Campaign finance

Campaign finance refers to the means by which money is raised for election campaigns. As campaigns have many expenditures, ranging from the cost of travel for the candidate and others to the purchasing of air time for TV advertisements, candidates often spend a great deal of time and effort raising money to finance their cause.

Although the political science literature indicates that most contributors give to support candidates with whom they are already in agreement, [] it is widely believed that donors expect something in return. [cite web|url=|title=Gill, David & Lipsmeyer, Christine, "Soft Money and Hard Choices: Why Political Parties Might Legislate Against Soft Money Donations", Public Choice, 123(3-4), 411-438, 2005] (such as specific legislation being enacted or defeated) so some have come to equate campaign finance with political corruption and bribery Fact|date=June 2008. These views have led some governments to reform fundraising sources and techniques in the hope of eliminating perceived undue influence being given to monied interests. Another tactic is for the government, rather than private interests, to provide funding for campaigns.

Democratic countries have differing views on what is legal and what types of donations to political parties and campaigns are acceptable.

Several disciplines, such as economics, public policy, public choice theory, and collective action theory attempt to understand the dynamics of the political processes.

Private financing

Some democracies rely heavily on private donors to bankroll political campaigns. In these countries, fundraising is often a significant activity for the campaign staff and the candidate, especially in larger and more prominent campaigns. For example, one survey in the United States found that 23% of candidates for statewide office surveyed spent more than half of their scheduled time raising money, and over half of all candidates surveyed spent at least 1/4 of their time on fundraising. [ cite web|url=|title=Begging for Bucks|accessdate=2007-03-12|work=Campaigns and Elections] .The tactics used can include direct mail solicitation, attempts to encourage supporters to contribute via the Internet, direct solicitation from the candidate, and high-priced events specifically for the purpose of fundraising, or other activities

Most countries that rely on private donations to fund campaigns require extensive disclosure of donations, frequently including information such as the name, employer and address of donors. This is intended to allow for policing of undue donor influence by other campaigns or by good government groups, while preserving the benefits of private financing, including the right to make donations and to spend money for political speech, and allowing the government to save the expense of funding political speech which some citizens may find odious (see [] ). Supporters of private financing systems believe that, in addition to avoiding government limitations on speech, they foster civic involvement and ensure that a diversity of views are heard.

Public financing

Other countries choose to use government funding to run campaigns. Funding campaigns from the budget is widespread in South America and Europe. [cite book | author= Smilov, Daniel and Jurij Toplak| title= Political Finance and Corruption in Eastern Europe| publisher= Ashgate Press| date= 2007| id=ISBN 978-0-7546-7046-9] The mechanisms for this can be quite varied, ranging from direct subsidy of political parties to government matching funds for certain types of private donations (often small donations) and many other systems as well. Supporters of public financing generally believe that the public financing system decreases corruption; in addition, many proponents believe that public financing promotes other values, such as civic participation or greater faith in the political process. Not all public financing is delivered in the form of money; some systems require campaign materials (often air time on television) to be provided at very low rates to the candidates. Critics sometimes complain of the expense of the public financing systems. Libertarian critics of the system argue that government should not subsidize political speech. Other critics argue that public financing, with its emphasis on equalizing money resources, merely exaggerates differences in non-monetary resources.

In many countries, such as Germany and the United States, campaigns can be funded by a combination of private and public money. Local cities in the United States, such as Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have also considered whether to publicly finance local elections.cite news
title = Publicly financed election
publisher = "Raleigh News and Observer" OrangeChat blog
date = 2008-05-14
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-18

ee also

*Campaign finance in the United States
*Political donations in Australia
*Political funding in Japan
*Campaign finance reform
*Clean elections
*Hatch Act of 1939
*No-bid contract
*Pacific scandal
*Election promise


cite journal
last = Ansolabehere
first = Stephen
authorlink = Stephen Ansolabehere
coauthors = John de Figueiredo, James M. Snyder, Jr.
title = Why Is There So Little Money in U.S. politics?
journal = Journal of Economic Perspectives
volume = 17
issue = 1
pages = 105–130
year = 2003
publisher = Massachusetts Institute of Technology
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2007-03-12
doi = 10.1257/089533003321164976

Further reading

*cite book | author= Ackerman, Bruce and Ian Ayres| title= Voting with Dollars| publisher= Yale University Press| date= February 10, 2004| id=ISBN 0-300-10149-X
*Alexander, Herbert E. "Campaign Financing in International Perspective" in cite book | author=Michael J. Malbin, ed. | title= Parties Interest Groups and Campaign Finance Laws | publisher= American Enterprise Institute | year= 1980 | id=ISBN 0-8447-2167-0
*cite book | author=Birnbaum, Jeffrey | title= The Money Men : The Real Story of Fund-raising's Influence on Political Power in America| publisher= Crown| date= June 6, 2000| id=ISBN 0-8129-3119-X
*cite book | author= Clawson, Dan ; Alan Neustadtl; Mark Weller | title= Dollars and Votes: How Business Campaign Contributions Subvert Democracy | publisher= Temple University Press| month= May | year= 1998| id=ISBN 1-56639-626-3
*cite book | author= Coate, Steven | title= [ Pareto Improving Campaign Finance Policy] | publisher= American Economic Review| year= 2004| id=
*cite book | author= Gill, David & Lipsmeyer, Christine | title= [ Soft Money and Hard Choices: Why Political Parties Might Legislate Against Soft Money Donations] | publisher= Public Choice| year= 2005| id=
*Goodliffe, Jay cite web | title= BYU Syllabus for Money in Politics | work=Reading List | url= | accessdate=Fall | accessyear=2003 Extensive list of articles on Money in Politics
*cite book | author= Green, Mark| title= Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy| publisher= Regan Books| year= 2004| id=ISBN 0-06-073582-1 New York mayoral candidate who lost to Bloomberg.
*cite book | author= Malbin, Michael J. | title= The Election After Reform: Money, Politics, and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act | publisher= Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.| month= March | year= 2006| id=ISBN 0-7425-3870-2
*cite book | author=John Samples | title=The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform | publisher=University of Chicago Press | id=ISBN 978-0226734507
*cite book | author= Smilov, Daniel and Jurij Toplak| title= Political Finance and Corruption in Eastern Europe| publisher= Ashgate Press| date= 2007| id=ISBN 978-0-7546-7046-9
*cite book | author=Smith, Bradley A. | title= Unfree Speech : The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform| publisher= Princeton University Press| date= March 1, 2001 | id=ISBN 0-691-07045-8
*cite visual | producer= Talbot, Stephen | year= 1992| url= | title = The Best Campaign Money Can Buy | medium= TV-Series| location= United States | distributor= Frontline (PBS Video); Center for Investigative Reporting
*cite book | author= Ward, Gene | title= [ Transparency in Money in Politics: A Comparison of the United States and Canada] | publisher= | year= | id= PDF

External links

* [ Center for Competitive Politics]
* [ More on United States campaign law]
* [ Campaign Finance Institute]
* [ Read Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding campaign finance]
* [ "NEWS"MEAT campaign contribution search engine]
* [ PoliticalMoneyLine]
* [ OpenSecrets]
* [ Campaign Money Search]
* [ The National Institute on Money in State Politics]
* [ Institute for Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School]
* [ (IFES)]

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