PACs Post-Citizens United: Improving Accountability and Equality in Campaign Finance
New York University School of Law
May 18, 2011
New York University Law Review, Forthcoming
The modern campaign finance system is praised by few and maligned by many. Following Citizens United, the decision's critics blamed the Court for further enabling unaccountable groups to run undesirable negative advertising campaigns and for reinforcing the perception that the political process is governed by corporate special interests. Taking the doctrinal changes in Citizens United as given, I argue that the Federal Election Campaign Act’s $5000 limitation on individual contributions to political committees should be removed. First, in light of recent campaign finance decisions, the limitation appears to be unconstitutional as it imposes a limit on First Amendment rights without being tailored to the government interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption. Second, eliminating the contribution limitations will have previously unrecognized benefits. Specifically, removing the restriction will enable smaller, ideological, PACs to better compete with more established corporate PACs and it may lead to an increase in accountable political speech by putting more money into candidates' hands.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Campaign Finance, Citizens United, CalMed, California Medical Association, Political Committee, PAC
Date posted: May 24, 2011 ; Last revised: October 10, 2011