In its 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, the United States Supreme Court sanctioned a system of unlimited campaign spending in federal elections. Since that ruling, this nation has witnessed an explosion of political expenditures. The 1996 election cycle marked the most expensive election in U.S. history, with congressional and presidential candidates spending a total of more than $2 billion. Campaign spending has also dramatically risen in state and local elections across the country. Unlimited spending poses a serious threat to our democratic process. It undermines public confidence in our elections and in our democratic institutions. It presents an increased danger of actual corruption as large contributors dominate the financing of public election campaigns. It places enormous time pressures on officeholders running for re-election, interfering with their ability to carry out their governing duties. It enables candidates with wealth or access to wealth to drown out the voices of lesserfunded candidates and their supporters. It violates the promise of political equality.
Bonifaz, John C.; Luke, Gregory G.; and Wright, Brenda
"Challenging Buckley v. Valeo: A Legal Strategy,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 33
, Article 3.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol33/iss1/3