Writing Reform: A Guide to Drafting State & Local Campaign Finance Laws (2010 Revised Edition)

201 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2010 Last revised: 6 Jul 2011

Date Written: December 22, 2010


The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law has designed this manual for people who want to draft campaign finance reform legislation that is both appropriate for their community and sensitive to constitutional concerns. Because different laws may be appropriate in different states and localities, the handbook will not tell you what provisions to include in legislation you draft. In our view, people with ties to communities interested in reform are in the best position to determine what legislation is needed and achievable. We therefore do not provide model laws here, but we do identify organizations that can provide such models.

Rather than providing a blueprint for reform, we offer practical suggestions and legal analysis that will assist reformers in selecting and drafting appropriate campaign finance provisions. The handbook certainly should help drafters who wish to maximize the potential for avoiding a lawsuit or succeeding in court if their legislation is challenged, so that campaign finance reform can be implemented expeditiously. The manual also should be of use to activists who aim to push the envelope of permissible reform by drafting statutes or initiatives that can serve as the basis for test cases. Both groups of drafters must understand the state of current law to accomplish their purpose.

We focus primarily on the drafting of statutes or initiatives that will govern state elections. Our recommendations and analysis also apply, however, to local campaign finance laws. Special issues that must be faced when attempting to regulate municipal campaign finance are addressed briefly in the Epilogue.

Please note that this document was up to date as of December 2010. It has not been updated in light of the Supreme Court's 2011 decision about public financing triggers, Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC (a.k.a. McComish v. Bennett).

Keywords: Campaign Finance, Money in Politics, Citizens United, Davis v. FEC, independent expenditures, electioneering communications, contribution limits, disclosure, Torres-Spelliscy

Suggested Citation

Torres-Spelliscy, Ciara, Writing Reform: A Guide to Drafting State & Local Campaign Finance Laws (2010 Revised Edition) (December 22, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1729827 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1729827

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy (Contact Author)

Stetson University College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics