APSA Campaign Finance Panel

Over the next few days I will blog some of the panels likely to be of interest to ELB readers. Here’s the first:

Author Meets Critics panel

Sponsor: Campaign Finance Research Group
Subject: “A Neo-Madisonian Perspective on Campaign Finance Reform, Institutions, Pluralism, and Small Donors.”
Author: Michael Malbin, Univ. at Albany (SUNY) and the Campaign Finance Institute
Critics and Commenters:

Diana Dwyre, Cal State, Chico

Robin Kolodny, Temple University

Thomas Mann, Brookings Inst. and UC Berkeley (IGS)

Nathaniel Persily, Stanford

Linda Powell, Rochester U.

Paul Herrnson, U. Conn.
When:Saturday, Sept. 12, 2 PM MDT (4 PM EDT)
Panel link:https://apsa.conferencecontent.net/session/1635868
Working paper available as an APSA Preprint: https://preprints.apsanet.org/engage/apsa/article-details/5f47bafcf169bd00127836dc


This working paper steps away from the speech-and-corruption debates that have dominated campaign finance conversations. Instead, it offers a proposal that fits well within current constitutional law while being more effective at addressing systemic inequality than alternatives that require a constitutional amendment. Like Madison in The Federalist, the article stresses the importance of looking at proposals from a perspective that seriously weighs their effects on institutional performance. The first major section of the paper develops the Federalists’ argument, and its flaws, while the second explains how current fundraising practices, including the role of national parties and their leaders, undermine legislative deliberation. The third section argues for an approach that would address current inequalities, correcting the main defect of Madisonian pluralism by bringing more diverse voices into the process while protecting against institutional harm. The approach would use generous small donor matching funds or vouchers, but with public funds used only to support within-district contributions. 


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