Campaign finance reform and the market for access

img_0928By Christopher Cotton, Queen’s University

Earlier this year, the government of Ontario was involved in a campaign finance scandal, accused of selling access to ministers in exchange for campaign donations. Most people see the exchange of contributions for access to politicians as obvious evidence of corruption. But, this view is too simple. Much of my academic research has focused on how special interests influence policy making. This research has led to a number of insights.Read More »

Campaign finance reform not enough: More public research funding also needed

Even when one takes the most optimistic view of interest groups and lobbying, their participation in the policy making process can lead to worse policy. This doesn’t mean that campaign finance reform is not worthwhile. Just that it may not go far enough to eliminate the biases in favor of interest groups. We shouldn’t fool ourselves. Although removing private money from elections will help, it isn’t enough to fully eliminate the disproportionate influence of rich and powerful special interests on policy making. 

By Christopher Cotton, Queen’s University
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How corporate money will reshape politics: Help for challengers

By Christopher Cotton (Queen’s University)

Critics of the court’s decision in Citizens United say that deep-pocketed interests (the oil, electricity, and telecommunications businesses, for example) have been given a dangerous level of influence over election outcomes. It is true that the absence of spending limits increases the likelihood of politicians accepting campaign funding for policy favors. But the overall impact may be less harmful than critics fear.

Continue reading the original article at The New York Times