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ACCORDING TO A well-known expression, money has always been “the mother's milk of politics.” Joseph Israel Tarte, a 19th-century Canadian political fundraiser, once declared “elections are not won with prayers.” Political organizations and political campaigns require large-scale financial resources in order to succeed. Party organizations need to be staffed, accommodated, and equipped. In a political campaign, the costs of advertising, marketing, events, tours, and related activities have become enormous. Political friends need to be rewarded and activated, enemies must be targeted, and the neutrals persuaded. Each of these activities costs money. In the American federal election of 2000, the presidential candidates, between them, spent over $600 million, while Congressional candidates spent in excess of a further billion dollars.

Although in both Canada and the United States ...

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