Breaching the Biennial Limit: Why the FEC Has Failed to Enforce Aggregate Hard-Money Limits and How Record Linkage Technology Can Help

42 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2013  

Adam Bonica

Stanford University

Jenny Shen

Hogan Lovells

Date Written: December 3, 2013

Abstract

We demonstrate the applicability of an automated record-linkage system as a tool for enforcing aggregate contributions limits. We do this by applying customized entity resolution software to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) database as a way to assign unique identifiers to individual donors in order to track their giving behavior. We find evidence of detected over a thousand violations of the biennial limit in 2012 alone. We argue that the FEC and state campaign finance reporting agencies should adopt similar technology as an automated method to help identify to potential violations, thus streamlining centralized auditing in a highly cost efficient manner.

Keywords: Election Law, Campaign Finance, Record-linkage

Suggested Citation

Bonica, Adam and Shen, Jenny, Breaching the Biennial Limit: Why the FEC Has Failed to Enforce Aggregate Hard-Money Limits and How Record Linkage Technology Can Help (December 3, 2013). Willamette Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2363132

Adam Bonica (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jenny Shen

Hogan Lovells ( email )

555 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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