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Arizona Clean Elections: The Impact of Publicly Financed Campaigns on Representation in the Legislature

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Campaign finance regulation has drastically changed since the founding of the Republic. Originally, few laws regulated how much could be contributed to political campaigns and who could make contributions. One

Campaign finance regulation has drastically changed since the founding of the Republic. Originally, few laws regulated how much could be contributed to political campaigns and who could make contributions. One by one, Congress passed laws to limit the possibility of corruption, for example by banning the solicitation of federal workers and banning contributions from corporations. As the United States moved into the 20th Century, regulations became more robust with more accountability. The modern structure of campaign finance regulation was established in the 1970's with legislation like the Federal Election Campaign Act and with Supreme Court rulings like in Buckley v. Valeo. Since then, the Court has moved increasingly to strike down campaign finance laws they see as limiting to First Amendment free speech. However, Arizona is one of a handful of states that established a system of publicly financed campaigns at the state-wide and legislative level. Passed in 1998, Proposition 200 attempted to limit the influence of money politics. For my research I hypothesized that a public financing system like the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) would lead to Democrats running with public funds more than Republicans, women running clean more than men, and rural candidates running clean more than urban ones, and that Democrats, women, and rural candidates would win in higher proportions than than if they ran a traditional campaign. After compiling data from the CCEC and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, I found that Democrats do run with public funds in statistically higher proportions than Republicans, but when they do they lose in higher proportions than Democrats who run traditionally. Female candidates only ran at a statistically higher proportion from 2002 to 2008, after which the difference was not statistically significant. For all year ranges women who ran with public money lost in higher proportions than women who ran traditionally. Similarly, rural candidates only ran at a statistically higher proportion from 2002 to 2008. However, they only lost at higher proportions from 2002 to 2008 instead of the whole range like with women and Democratic candidates.

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  • 2016-12

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Election for Sale: How Unlimited Independent Expenditures and the Abandonment of Public Funding Has Led to Privatized Presidential Elections

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Since the passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 (FECA) up until the most recent election in 2012, presidential campaign funds have risen over five hundred percent.

Since the passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 (FECA) up until the most recent election in 2012, presidential campaign funds have risen over five hundred percent. While money has always been an essential and critical part of any political campaign, this rise has been drastic and continues to increase at a higher rate with every election cycle, even when the numbers are adjusted for inflation. The purpose of this paper is to examine this continuous increase in cost of presidential campaigns and to analyze the different pieces that have contributed to this rise. The main pieces include two Supreme Court cases: Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the rise and fall of federally regulated public funding and the various pieces of a presidential campaign that have considerably higher ticket prices with each election cycle. This paper first goes through both Buckley and Citizens, describing what each Supreme Court decision did and how they effected how much money can be spent in a presidential campaign and by whom. The paper then examines each presidential election since the passage of FECA in 1974 through the last election with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012. Each election cycle is broken down to show how much money was spent by each candidate and the Republican and Democratic National Committees, whether or not the money was received through public funds or raised privately, and subsequently the percentages of where the money was spent. While the examination of the Court cases helps to understand why so much money can be donated and contributed directly to campaigns or spent on behalf of a presidential candidate, the breakdown of where the money is spent including advertising, travel, staff salaries etc. helps to show why a presidential campaign costs over five hundred percent more today than it did forty years ago. By understanding this increase, how it was caused and where the money is going, it is more feasible to comprehend whether or not campaign finance reform should be proposed and if so, how it should be brought about.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05