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Reclaiming Egalitarianism in the Political Theory of Campaign Finance Reform

62 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2008  

Frank A. Pasquale III

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

Abstract

Recent advocacy for campaign finance reform has been based on an ideal of the democratic process which is unrealistic and unhelpful. Scholars should instead return to its egalitarian roots. This article examines how deliberative democratic theory became the main justification for campaign finance reform. It exposes the shortcomings of this deliberativist detour and instead models campaign spending as an effort to commodify issue-salience. Given this dominant function of money in politics, a more effective paradigm for reform is equalizing influence. Advocates of campaign regulation should return to the original principles of reformers; not an idealized vision of the democratic process, but pragmatic concerns about moneyed interests acquiring too much influence over the nation's politics.

Keywords: campaign finance, egalitarianism, political theory, Rawls, deliberative democracy, politics

Suggested Citation

Pasquale, Frank A., Reclaiming Egalitarianism in the Political Theory of Campaign Finance Reform. University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2008, No. 2, 2008; Seton Hall Law School Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 1111566. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1111566

Frank A. Pasquale III (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States
410-706-4820 (Phone)
410-706-0407 (Fax)

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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