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POLI 360 - Week 11

by: runnergal

POLI 360 - Week 11 POLI 360 001


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About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed in class during the week of 3/28/16.
American Political Parties
David C. Darmofal
Class Notes
political science, Government
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Wednesday March 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 360 001 at University of South Carolina taught by David C. Darmofal in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 97 views. For similar materials see American Political Parties in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 03/30/16
POLI 360 – Lecture 16  Campaign Spending o Total spending has increased in presidential and congressional elections. o More money used to be spent on presidential nomination campaigns than in the  general election because candidates can use public funding in the general election. This is no longer true because candidates can raise more money on their own than they would receive from public funding. o Parties fund national conventions. o Types of Party Expenditures 1. Direct Expenditures: money given to candidates by parties. 2. Coordinated Expenditures: money given to candidates for polls, ads, etc. by the parties. These amounts of money are limited, but this type of  expenditure does give parties more control over where the candidates  spend the parties’ funds. 3. Soft Money: money that can be spent on party­building activities.  Basically any money that is not spent on federal campaigns, including  issue advocacy ads.  Soft money was created indirectly when public funding was  relegated to preferable sections of campaigning, such as ads and  direct mail, leaving few funds for party building. The 1979  Buckley v. Valeo decision exempted federal funds from being  spent on party building activities. o Democrats were more dependent on soft money than Republicans because  Democrats had fewer individual donors. o The BCRA banned most soft money. o Political Action Committees (PACs): political groups that fundraise and spend  money to influence different elections. o Types of PACs  Sponsored PACs: set up by labor unions, trade associations, or  corporations.  Nonconnected PACs: no sponsoring organizations; usually conservative  or liberal.  Leadership PACs: set up by incumbent congresspeople to distribute  funds to other candidates. These types of PACs create alliances, which are  highly valued by congresspeople looking to move up in the leadership. o People can donate as much money as they like to PACs. o Most PAC money goes to congressional campaigns. o Other Sources of Fundraising 1. Super PACs: can give unlimited funds in support of candidates, but cannot give funds directly to candidates. 2. Public funding (for presidential elections). 3. Individual contributors (were not very important in presidential elections  prior to 2008 because public funding was more profitable than seeking  individual donations). 4. The candidates themselves can fund their campaigns. For example, Jon  Corzine, a New Jersey businessman, spent millions of his own money on  his senatorial campaign.  Campaign Finance Reforms o The two biggest reforms in recent years have been the Bipartisan Campaign  Finance Reform Act (BCRA) and the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court  decision. o BCRA aimed to reduce soft money campaign donations, whereas the Citizens  United decision promote soft money in campaigns because the Supreme Court  defined money as a form of free speech.  The Citizens United decision rationalized if candidates can contribute as  much of their own money as they want to their own campaigns,  corporations and labor unions should be able to donate unlimited money to political organizations (not including political parties). o BCRA and the Citizens United decision both reduced parties’ roles in campaign  fundraising. o BCRA eliminated soft money used for campaign ads; instead, that money was  sent to outside groups. o Parties coordinate citizen preferences, but their reduced roles in fundraising give  them smaller voices, less governing responsibility, and less accountability for  campaign ads and Super PAC actions, especially when Super PACs do not  disclose their donors. o Essentially, BCRA was unsuccessful because soft money is still active in outside  groups that are even less accountable than political parties. o One substitute is to bring back soft money to political parties, which would give  parties more control over campaign ads and messages. o Another substitute is to allow unlimited donations to the candidates, as opposed to Super PACs with which the candidates cannot coordinate.


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