By undermining competitive elections, campaign finance laws undermine democracy. Campaign finance ‘‘reform’’ distracts us from the real issue, the ultimate source of potential corruption—ubiquitous government. Government today fosters corruption because it exercises vast powers over virtually every aspect of life. Is it any wonder that special interests—indeed, every interest but the general—should be trying either to take advantage of that or to protect themselves from it?

More on Campaign Finance


Politics Ain’t Broke, So Reforms Wont Fix It

By Jeffrey Milyo. Washington Examiner. July 6, 2015.

‘Citizens United’ Misunderstood

By Ilya Shapiro. USA Today. January 20, 2015.

Terrifying Senate Democrats Vote to Give Political Speech Less Protection than Pornography

By Trevor Burrus. September 11, 2014.

Cato Studies

Free Speech and the 527 Prohibition

By Stephen M. Hoersting. Briefing Paper No. 96. April 3, 2006.

Uncompetitive Elections and the American Political System

By Patrick Basham and Dennis Polhill. Policy Analysis No. 547. June 30, 2005.

Three Myths about Voter Turnout in the United States

By John Samples. Policy Analysis No. 524. September 14, 2004.


Stephen Colbert Is Right to Lampoon Our Campaign Finance System (and So Can You!)

Ilya Shapiro. University of St. Thomas (Minn.) Journal of Law & Public Policy. Vol. 4. No. 2. Spring 2013.

Public Filings

Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell

By Allen Dickerson, Zac Morgan, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, & Gabriel Latner. Legal Briefs. November 4, 2014.

Worley v. Florida Secretary of State

By Allen Dickerson, Anna Mackin, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, & Julio Colomba. Legal Briefs. October 16, 2013.

Wagner v. FEC

By Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. July 11, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Curbing Campaign Cash: Henry Ford, Truman Newberry, and the Politics of Progressive Reform by Paula Baker

John Samples. Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2013.

Not under My First Amendment

Floyd Abrams. Cato's Letter. Fall 2005.


Is Taxpayer Financing of Campaigns Constitutional?

Featuring John Samples. November 17, 2010. Policy Forum.

Campaign Finance after Citizens United: What Now?

Featuring John Samples and Ilya Shapiro. February 2, 2010. Capitol Hill Briefing.

What to Do about Self-Funded Campaigns

Featuring John Samples and Ilya Shapiro. April 21, 2008. Capitol Hill Briefing.