In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Congress passed several amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 which regulated federal campaign contributions and spending. When Senator James L. Buckley and others challenged the law for interfering with their First Amendment rights, however, the Supreme Court had to decide a case which would transform political campaigns for decades to come.

What happened in Buckley v. Valeo? Prof. Michael R. Dimino of Widener University’s Commonwealth Law School discusses the most important campaign finance case ever decided by the Supreme Court.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speaker.

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Related Links & Differing Views:

The Federalist Society: “Drafting Buckley v. Valeo: The Court, Liberty, and Politics”

Journal of Law and Policy: “A Landmark Decision Turns Forty: A Conversation on Buckley v. Valeo”

Arizona State Law Journal: “Why Buckley v. Valeo Is Basically Right”

University of Richmond Law Review: “The Original Sin of Campaign Finance Law: Why Buckley v. Valeo is Wrong”

The Federalist Society: “Campaign Finance and Free Speech”