“Financing the 2008 Election”

I finally had a chance to sit down with David Magleby and Tony Corrado’s new edited volume, Financing the 2008 Election: Assessing Reform. This is the latest in a series of books on presidential elections which have come out since the 1960s  (begun by Herb Alexander, and edited also by John Green and Kelly Patterson).  These volumes are indispensable for anyone doing research and writing on campaign finance trends in the U.S., and this book seems especially strong. Magleby’s opening chapter gives a great overview of the 2008 campaign finance picture, and each individual chapter fills in the details on outside groups, presidential primaries, congressional races, etc.

I relied heavily on the empirical work in this book in revamping and updating the campaign finance chapters for the new Fifth Edition of Election Law–Cases and Materials. (The book is going to the publisher next month and will be out in time for fall classes.)  The data in the Magleby/Corrado volume, along with FEC data, allows us to present a more complete picture in the casebook of the campaign finance shift brought about by Citizens United.

I am so pleased with how the chapters came out, now that we’ve flipped the chapters on spending limits and contribution limits, letting students get to Citizens United earlier in the material.  After the Buckley discussion, the new organization puts heavier emphasis on more recent cases (gone are the long notes on NRWC, NCPAC, etc.) and now we’ve got some new principal cases including SpeechNow and Ognibene (on whether the ban on corporate contributions to candidates is constitutional).  The material is both shorter and (I hope) easier for students to read and follow.

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