New Book: Campaign Finance Complexity: Before Campaigning Retain an Attorney

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A good read is Dr. Mary Jo Shepherd's new book, Campaign Finance Complexity: Before Campaigning Retain an Attorney! The campaign finance system regulates campaign contributions and behavior with the intent to eliminate corruption or the potential for corruption in elections.  With that goal in mind, state legislators created statutes regulating campaign behavior.  Each state has wide variation in the complexity of campaign finance regulations.  Regulatory systems create a network of rules and regulations and campaign finance is no different.  The difference is in the behavior regulated and the potential negative impacts of a complex regulatory system.  Candidates running for office must take time and effort to learn and comply with campaign finance regulations to compete in an election.  If campaign finance regulations are complex, the time and effort required to learn and comply increases and has the potential to take candidates away from campaigning.  This book studies if states with complex regulations have fewer candidates from running for office or more candidates withdrawing their candidacy after starting a campaign.  This potentially negative consequence of campaign regulations impacts participation rates for individuals running for office.  In a democracy, we desire more candidates in order to maintain a diverse candidate pool.  A complex regulatory system, by increasing candidate costs may adversely affect that goal.