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With the federal government and most states restricting individual, corporate, and union contributions to campaigns, reformers are turning their attention to the public funding of campaigns. Indeed, some assert that public financing of campaigns has long been the ultimate goal of reformers. While partial funding of campaigns already exists in several states, only a handful have enacted so-called "clean elections" laws, which completely fund campaigns and require that candidates raise no additional funds. David Primo and Jeffrey Milyo suggest that these reforms are being adopted without sufficient attention to scientific studies, which to date, find little-to-no systematic impact from existing funding programs. The authors discuss what we know--and don't know--about public funding, and how scientific inquiry could improve the normative debates on campaign finance reform.

Panelists Included:

  • Prof. Michael P. McDonald, George Mason University
  • Prof. David M. Primo, University of Rochester
  • Mr. Erik Jaffe, Law Offices of Erik S. Jaffe, Moderator

Date: July 26, 2006
Location: National Press Club

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