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

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.

Articles

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

Alabama Democratic Conference v. Attorney General, Alabama

By Ilya Shapiro and Thomas Berry. Legal Briefs. January 30, 2017.

Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission

By Paul Sherman, Samuel B. Gedge, and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. January 9, 2017.

Delaware Strong Families v. Denn

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

Cato Reviews & Journals

Campaign Finance: Fixing an Overregulated Marketplace of Ideas

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

Removing Direct Contribution Limits: Free Speech and Disclosure

Adam G. Byrne. Cato Journal. Fall 2016.

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

John Samples. Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2013.

Events

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.