MoneyBombs and Democratic Participation: Regulating Internet Fundraising
84 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 4, 2010
In the last decade, the Internet has upended the world of political fundraising, helping campaigns marshal armies of small donors and volunteers. Rather than eliminating the need for fundraising organizations that intermediate between candidates and constituents, as some predicted, the Internet has created new intermediaries that capitalize on the rapidly changing ecology of online fundraising. These new intermediaries combine fundraising, volunteer mobilization and activism. They raise new risks of accountability, polarization, and nationalized debate, but also have the potential to greatly enhance democratic participation. Although online campaigning is currently largely unregulated, numerous proposals to change this have been advanced in recent years. This Article contrasts online and offline fundraising intermediaries, and uses the differences that it identifies to evaluate several regulatory proposals. It is a guide to regulating online political fundraising and to ensuring that regulation avoids unintended consequences, minimizes the risks of online fundraising, and reinforces its promise of enhanced democratic participation.
Keywords: online fundraising, internet, politics, fundraising, fundraising intermediaries, political campaigns, democratic participation
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