The Brave New World of Party Campaign Finance Law
79 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2015 Last revised: 29 Mar 2016
Date Written: 2015
The Article challenges urgent calls for the de-regulation of party campaign finance as part of the ongoing transformation of federal campaign finance law under the Roberts Court. First, on the legal front, the Article presents a new constitutional approach to campaign finance corruption that builds on the basic premise that what can be plausibly exchanged between an individual contributor and individual officeholder, can similarly be exchanged between a contributor and a group of officeholders, who agree to coordinate. This intuition about collective quid pro quo corruption stays faithful to the basic conception of the quid pro quo exchange as its defining harm, just as the Roberts Court insists, but allows for pragmatic sensibilities about a campaign finance system in which officeholders and candidates are thoroughly interconnected in both campaign finance and lawmaking by their party ties. Second, on the policy front, the Article engages normative appeals to de-regulate party campaign finance and centralize campaign finance in the parties as a response to the rise of Super PACs and other outside groups. I skeptically assess the consequences of de-regulating party campaign finance and argue that campaign finance law should re-discover central concerns about distributional representation, rather than focusing too narrowly on the balance of power among party elites.
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