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From the authors of Legislative Labyrinth: Congress and Campaign Finance Reform. Elections, the basic mechanism of representative democracy, should be untainted by corruption and provide a platform for free speech. But running for office takes money—a lot of it, usually—which means campaign finance has become a pitched battle over the fundamental political values of free speech versus fair elections. With insiders' perspectives, Farrar-Myers and Dwyre tell the story of what it took to pass campaign finance legislation, provide analysis of the subsequent court action, and explore the regulatory and electoral outcomes of reform efforts. Limits and Loopholes is a story about incremental policymaking and inter-branch struggle, about institutional design and unintended consequences, about the influence of interest groups and the media, and about the health of our representative democracy. Bringing together discussions of core values and the policymaking process, this book serves as an excellent case study that traces an issue from inception, through legislation and litigation, and finally to implementation.

Competing Values and the High Stakes of Campaign Finance Reform
Competing values and the high stakes of campaign finance reform

The concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment, which is designed to secure the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources and to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social change desired by the people.

U.S. Supreme Court, Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

When the Supreme Court said, in the Buckley case, that fairness to candidates and their convictions is “foreign” to the First Amendment, it denied that such fairness was required by democracy. That is a mistake ...

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