Improper influence: campaign finance law, political interest groups, and the problem of equality
Why is there still so much dissatisfaction with the role of special interest groups in financing American election campaigns, even though no aspect of interest group politics has been so thoroughly regu-lated and constrained? This book argues that part of the answer lies in the laws themselves, which prevent many hard-to-organize citizen groups from forming effective political action committees (PACs), while actually helping business groups organize PACs.
Thomas L. Gais points out that many laws that regulate group involvement in elections ignore the real difficulties of political mobilization, and he concludes that PACs and the campaign finance laws reflect a fundamental discrepancy between grassroots ideals and the ways in which broadly based groups actually get organized.
". . . . of fundamental scholarly and practical importance. The implications for 'reform' are controversial, flatly contradicting other recent reform proposals . . . . I fully expect that Improper Influence will be one of the most significant books on campaign finance to be published in the 1990s." --Michael Munger, Public Choice
"It is rare to find a book that affords a truly fresh perspective on the role of special interest groups in the financing of U.S. elections. It is also uncommon to find a theoretically rigorous essay confronting a topic usually grounded in empirical terms. . . . Improper Influence scores high on both counts and deserves close attention from students of collective action, campaign finance law, and the U.S. political process more generally." --American Political Science Review
Thomas L. Gais is Senior Fellow, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York.
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Collective Action Institutions and Bias in
The Size and Scope of the PAC System
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1984 elections advocacy affiliated PACs biases business PACs campaign contributions campaign finance reforms Categories of groups chapter citizen groups citizen PACs coalitions collective action congressional connected organization cooperation corporations data see app effects elec election cycle electoral activities establish expenditures Federal Election Commission form PACs groups with PACs important independent expenditures individual contributions institutional base institutional conditions institutional constraints issues labor unions large number legislative lobbying membership associations merged data Mixed sector nonconnected nonparty committees nonprofit sector groups number of PACs occupational roles organizational PAC contributions PAC formation PAC system PAC's PACs affiliated participation patrons percent policy areas Political Action Committee political activities political interests political organization profit sector raised rates of PAC receipts reforms regulations rely reported representation representing citizen interests Republican restrictions revenues separate segregated fund small contributors SSFs tactics tional tions tive typology of occupational votes