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MoneyBombs and Democratic Participation: Regulating Internet Fundraising

Nathaniel Jurist Gleicher

Yale Information Society Project; Yale University

October 4, 2010

Maryland Law Review, Forthcoming

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 84

Keywords: online fundraising, internet, politics, fundraising, fundraising intermediaries, political campaigns, democratic participation

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Date posted: October 28, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Gleicher, Nathaniel Jurist, MoneyBombs and Democratic Participation: Regulating Internet Fundraising (October 4, 2010). Maryland Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695552

Contact Information

Nathaniel Jurist Gleicher (Contact Author)
Yale Information Society Project ( email )
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
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