Campaign Finance Reform: The Political Shell Game

Campaign Finance Reform: The Political Shell Game


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For decades, campaign finance reform has been an on-going topic of discussion. In particular, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) was heralded as a major breakthrough in controlling the flow of money into campaigns. Almost immediately, political players found other ways to financially manipulate the new laws. Campaign Finance Reform: The Political Shell Game provides an in-depth look at the history of political campaign finance reform with special emphasis on legislative, FEC, and federal court actions from the 1970s to present. In particular, the authors examine the ways that campaigns and independent groups have sought to make end-runs around existing campaign finance rules. Oftentimes the loopholes they find make a significant impact on an election, sparking the next round of campaign finance reform. New rules are then enacted, and new loopholes are found. Like a big political shell game, the amount of money in politics never actually decreases, but instead gets moved around from one organization to another.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739145661
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 06/02/2010
Series: Lexington Studies in Political Communication Series
Pages: 164
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Melissa M. Smith is assistant professor of communication at Mississippi State University. Glenda C. Williams is associate professor of telecommunication and film at The University of Alabama and president of the Broadcast Education Association. Larry Powell is professor of communication studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Gary A. Copeland is professor and chair of the Telecommunication and Film Department at The University of Alabama.

Table of Contents


1 Overview of Campaign Finance Law Glenda C. Williams 1

Historical Background

2 Political Parties and the Finance Law Larry Powell 13

3 NCPAC and the Development of Third-Party Expenditures Larry Powell 29

The 527s

4 A History of 527 Organizations Melissa M. Smith 45

5 Swift Boat Veterans vs. Glenda C. Williams 69

6 Analysis of 527 Ads in 2004 Election Barry P. Smith Melissa M. Smith 77

7 Silence Is(n't) Golden: Responding to 527 Ads Lauren Reichart Smith Gary A. Copeland 89

Future of Campaign Finance Reform

8 The Possible Future of 527s Melissa M. Smith 113

9 The Future of Campaign Finance Laws Melissa M. Smith 123

Afterword 137

Index 143

About the Authors 147

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