As the Supreme Court held in the key free-speech case of Roth v. United States, the First Amendment broadly protects political expression in order to “assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.” Election-campaign contributions and expenditures facilitate such discourse and are thus vital to our democracy. Yet our current laws stifle political speech and inhibit the unfettered exchange of ideas.

More on Elections and Election Law


Clinton v. Trump: Politics without Principle

By Nat Hentoff and Nick Hentoff. May 5, 2016.

When It Comes to Politics, Corruption Is Subtler Than You Think

By Trevor Burrus. Washington Post. May 3, 2016.

Bill De Blasio’s Blatant Campaign-Finance Hypocrisy

By Randal John Meyer. New York Post. April 26, 2016.

Cato Studies

Move to Defend: The Case against the Constitutional Amendments Seeking to Overturn Citizens United

By John Samples. Policy Analysis No. 724. April 23, 2013.

The DISCLOSE Act, Deliberation, and the First Amendment

By John Samples. Policy Analysis No. 664. June 25, 2010.

The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama

By David Kirby and David Boaz. Policy Analysis No. 658. January 21, 2010.


Shelby County and the Vindication of Martin Luther King’s Dream

Ilya Shapiro. New York University Journal of Law & Liberty. Vol. 8. No. 1. Fall 2013.

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

Delaware Strong Families v. Denn

By Trevor Burrus, Ilya Shapiro, Paul Avelar, Paul Sherman, & Dana Berliner. Legal Briefs. May 2, 2016.

Akina v. Hawaii

By Noel H. Johnson, Ilya Shapiro, Kaylan L. Phillips, & Joseph A. Vanderhulst. Legal Briefs. December 23, 2015.

Evenwel v. Abbott

By Ilya Shapiro and Manuel S. Klausner. Legal Briefs. August 7, 2015.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Buckley v. Valeo, Forty Years Later

Policy Report. March/April 2016.

Shelby County v. Holder: The Restoration of Constitutional Order

William S. Consovoy and Thomas R. McCarthy. Supreme Court Review. 2012-2013.

Combating Regulatory Protectionism

Policy Report. July/August 2013.


Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter

Featuring Ilya Somin and John Samples. June 8, 2016. Book Forum.

The Past and Future of Buckley v. Valeo

Featuring Jeffrey Milyo, John Samples, David Savage, David Keating, & Floyd Abrams. January 26, 2016. Conference.

#Cato2016 — Cato Scholars Live-Tweet the First Democratic Primary Debate

Featuring . October 13, 2015. Special Event.