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

13 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2010  

Patrick M. Garry

University of South Dakota - School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2010

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Campaign finance, Out-of-State Contributions, Federalism, Referendum, Abortion

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Garry, Patrick M., 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 (February 1, 2010). South Dakota Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 1, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1572627

Patrick M. Garry (Contact Author)

University of South Dakota - School of Law ( email )

414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
United States

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