Raising the Question of Whether Out-of-State Political Contributions May Affect a Small State’s Political Autonomy: A Case Study of the South Dakota Voter Referendum on Abortion
Patrick M. Garry
University of South Dakota - School of Law
February 1, 2010
South Dakota Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 1, 2010
The federalism structure inherent in the American political system presumes not only that states occupy a separate level of authority from that of the federal government, but also that each state retains its own independence and autonomy from every other state. Each state, for instance, must be free to enact and enforce its own set of laws. This ability, however, may be jeopardized by current patterns of political fundraising and campaign expenditures. This article examines how a state holding a voter referendum on a particular issue of national importance may be significantly affected by out-of-state interests - particularly if those out-of-state interests contribute a substantial majority of the political campaign expenditures relating to that issue. Sparsely populated states such as South Dakota are particularly vulnerable to influxes of out-of-state campaign money. Although the First Amendment may preclude any regulations in this respect, the effects of out-of-state political fundraising and campaign expenditures could be such so as to jeopardize a small state’s electoral autonomy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: Campaign finance, Out-of-State Contributions, Federalism, Referendum, Abortion
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K39
Date posted: March 23, 2010
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