The Costs of Democracy

The Costs of Democracy

The Costs of Democracy

The Costs of Democracy

Excerpt

If the demographer had to take his own census and the election analyst had to tally the ballots, they would be in the same predicament as the student of campaign finance. There are no convenient, dependable data on the sources and uses of political money; a student must forage far and wide to find materials with which to work. In consequence, any broad study of money in elections is necessarily a cooperative venture. The studies initiated in 1953 at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, which are concluded in this book, have received aid of some sort from over 1,000 persons. My acknowledgments are inevitably incomplete, yet they indicate the many kinds of people whose good will and help have been essential. I can burden none of them with the results, but I feel a sense of personal debt to each that is difficult to express and impossible to repay.

Politicians know what politicians do better than anyone else. More than 600 of them have contributed fact and opinion to this study in off-the-record conversations. I myself conferred with over 100 of these from coast to coast; associates making intensive studies within single states interviewed the others. Many of the interviews lasted several hours and at least one consumed an entire day. The persons consulted, with remarkably few exceptions, spoke freely and instructively. They were assured anonymity if they desired it and most did. For that reason no source is cited for much information that is offered. For that reason, also, I regretfully cannot name the persons who assisted in this way.

For some decades committees of the United States Congress have compiled various types of campaign-finance information. They have on several occasions opened their files to students pursuing private inquiries. The Senate Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections continued this practice and gave me access to information accumulated by it about the 1952 and 1956 elections. Moreover, I served as a consultant to the Subcommittee in the latter year, when it was known as the Gore Committee, and was privileged to participate in planning the work . . .

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