Campaigns, Inc.

79 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2018 Last revised: 25 Jan 2019

See all articles by Robert Yablon

Robert Yablon

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: July 6, 2018


Election campaigns have become the domain of a thriving industry of paid political service providers. While leading scholars in other fields regard the rise of the campaign industry as a defining feature of our nation's politics, the industry is strikingly absent from the legal literature. This Article seeks to bring the campaign industry into election law discourse and contends that doing so has important practical and theoretical payoffs.

The Article begins by adding legal texture to existing accounts of the campaign industry's development. It observes that the industry emerged partly as an unintended consequence of efforts to reform political parties and campaign finance. The Article then considers the industry's repercussions. For campaigners and political donors, campaign professionals can provide tremendously valuable services, but they can also generate substantial countervailing agency costs. Widening the lens, the campaign industry has significant systemic effects on the pool of candidates who seek office, on the nature of campaigning, on substantive policy decisions, and more. Building on this descriptive account, the Article explores the industry's implications for ongoing jurisprudential and policy debates about money in politics and the role of political parties. The Article concludes by surveying potential public and private interventions to address the campaign industry's drawbacks.

Keywords: Election Law, Campaign Industry, Political Consultants, Campaign Finance, Money in Politics, Political Parties, First Amendment

JEL Classification: JEL: K16

Suggested Citation

Yablon, Robert, Campaigns, Inc. (July 6, 2018). 103 Minnesota L. Rev. 151 (2018), Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1448, Available at SSRN:

Robert Yablon (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

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Madison, WI 53706
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