Representation in Crisis: The Constitution, Interest Groups, and Political Parties

By David K. Ryden | Go to book overview
Save to active project

INTRODUCTION

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court issued Buckley v. Valeo, 1 the seminal decision largely responsible for the current state of campaign financing. In Buckley, the Court dissected and reconstructed a 1974 set of amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act. Those amendments represented a comprehensive effort by Congress to remedy shortcomings in the system of financing campaigns which became all too apparent in the long shadow of the Watergate debacle. The Act placed strict limits on what individuals and groups could give to, and spend on behalf of, candidates and campaign committees. It also placed a ceiling on total campaign spending and imposed disclosure requirements. By the time the Supreme Court rendered its constitutional judgment on Congress' handiwork, the Act had a much different look. Contributions to candidates could be limited; individual expenditures on their behalf could not. While full disclosure of campaign contributions was permissible, Congress could not restrict political speech by capping total spending on an election.

Buckley had dramatic consequences for the financing of campaigns, and for the soundness of the electoral process generally. While some of those consequences were clearly intended, others were not. Yet the country has been struggling with those consequences ever since. The most obvious example is the precipitous spiralling upward of the expense of campaigns. The Court's surgical removal of total spending limits from the legislation made it possible for Diane Feinstein and Michael Huffington to spend $44 million in 1994 on their Senate race, and for Chuck Robb and Ollie North to spend $25 million. Similarly, the Court's rejection of the clause limiting a candidate's expenditure of personal funds allowed the wealthy Mr. Huffington to fund his entire campaign, to the tune of $29 million.

The Buckley case is perhaps the most powerful illustration of two points that lie at the heart of this book. One is the critically important role played by the courts generally, and the Supreme

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Representation in Crisis: The Constitution, Interest Groups, and Political Parties
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 310

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?