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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article briefly describes some rules relevant to money in American elections. Campaign finance regulations can be categorized as: spending, source prohibitions, contribution limits, public funding, and disclosure. Two problems plague research on the impact of campaign finance laws. First, new regulations are not necessarily exogenous to the political process. Second, laws may appear to constrain donating or fundraising more than they actually do because of readily available equivalent alternatives for making contributions. Most interest groups are not active in elections, and some that are active do not contribute or spend money. The impacts of money on policy are described. Solving both measurement and statistical problems is central to understanding questions of influence in both elections and in governmental process at both national and state levels. Normatively, evaluating the representational quality of democracy rests on these understandings.

Keywords: money, American elections, campaign finance regulations, spending, source prohibitions, contribution limits, public funding, disclosure, democracy

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