Campaign Finance and American Democracy

Posted: 12 May 2015

See all articles by Yasmin Dawood

Yasmin Dawood

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

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Date Written: May 2015


This article considers the vast academic literature on campaign finance regulation in the United States, drawing on the fields of political theory, American politics, election law, constitutional law, and economics. The scholarly treatment of campaign finance regulation has become increasingly focused on fundamental questions about democratic governance and democratic values, and it has generated profound debates about participation, representation, free speech, political equality, liberty, and the organization and distribution of political power in government and society. This article reviews the original debate about campaign finance regulation and traces its evolution in both political theory and constitutional law, identifying current areas of inquiry and new directions in research. In particular, the article focuses on corruption, political equality and representation, electoral exceptionalism, and the post–Citizens United landscape. It also surveys empirical findings from political science and economics.

Suggested Citation

Dawood, Yasmin, Campaign Finance and American Democracy (May 2015). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 18, pp. 329-348, 2015, Available at SSRN: or

Yasmin Dawood (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

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