will be far more difficult to trace than PAC contributions, clouding the transparency of the disclosure system.
It is also unclear whether a system in which a greater proportion of candidate funds comes from individuals will benefit nonincumbents or will make members of Congress less likely to listen to the arguments of representatives of particular groups. If PACs were abolished, interest-group members would still contribute to candidates and lobby representatives and senators. Many of these contributors would consider the same factors that PAC managers now consider and listen to the same cue-givers. It is possible that corporate money would be somewhat more ideological if it came entirely from individual corporate officials, most of whom are Republicans. Yet corporate officials recognize the benefits of access to Democratic incumbents, and many would contribute accordingly.
Thus, the limits in the Senate bill seem likely to encourage more coordinated individual contributions, which will be difficult to trace, and more independent expenditures, which may limit electoral accountability. Yet the behavior of PACs in the 1992 election cycle does suggest the need for some reform to level the playing field.
We cannot and do not wish to eliminate interest-group activity in elections. We do, however, favor greater electoral competition. Because campaign funds appear to have a larger incremental value to nonincumbents than to incumbents, and because quality candidates can use early money to attract later resources from other sources, it should be possible to increase the competitiveness of congressional elections with only a modest commitment of resources. We do not advocate additional limits on contributions but rather suggest that additional resources be provided to nonincumbents.
It is not our purpose to propose a complete set of reforms, but certain ideas seem worth mentioning. Reforms that prevent incumbents from carrying over money from one election cycle to the next might encourage better challengers, who might otherwise be deterred by large incumbent war chests. 22 Reforms that provide some additional funds for nonincumbents, especially early in the election cycle, would help quality candidates more effectively communicate their ideas to the electorate. It would probably be necessary to allow both incumbents and nonincumbents to claim these grants, but it seems likely that the electoral climate would make it more difficult for an incumbent to accept the money. Both of these types of reforms would encourage more competitive elections. Free television or radio time for candidates, reduced postage rates for campaign mail, and additional provisions to aid political parties could also help the competitive nonincumbents whom the parties generally support.
We began this study by posing three questions. First, how do PACs select the candidates they support? Second, where do they obtain the information needed to select among the many candidates who request their funds? These two questions