Money, Power, and Elections
How Campaign Finance Reform Subverts American Democracy
“A comprehensive history of campaign finance reform efforts [that makes] the case that those efforts have imperiled the foundations of the principles upon which the nation was founded.”—Political Science Quarterly
description of the paperback edition
Since this book’s original publication in 2006, the United States has witnessed six federal elections that have amply demonstrated the ire triggered by campaign finance reform. With a new preface that looks back on many predictions now realized, Smith’s passionately written and fact-filled book illustrates that the laws meant to protect the democratic process have had exactly the opposite of their intended effect.
Smith expertly shows how reform legislation created a new inequality for candidates that threatens to destroy the American electoral process. He argues that “money buys speech” and that when candidates lack the ability to buy media time and space they are effectively silenced. Their inability to “speak freely” ignores the Founders’ desire to establish a nation in which a sovereign citizenry elects its own leaders based on a free exchange of ideas. Smith argues that the only solution is the full and public disclosure of campaign donors and the recipients of their largesse. Only then, he believes, will the United States become the democratic republic its Founders intended.
A certified public accountant, Rodney A. Smith is a political consultant and fund-raiser. In the past thirty years, he has raised over a billion dollars for candidates and political committees. He has been the national finance director for the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee and served as treasurer and finance director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He is the only finance professional ever honored as the "Most Valuable Player in a Campaign" by the American Association of Political Consultants. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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