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Campaign Finance Disclosure and Legislative Fundraising Behavior
Unformatted Document Text:  17 wealthy interests and politicians will encourage legislation more reflective of a public interest. However, given how little information is available about the effects of campaign contributions on political decisions, the best policies may be those that are relatively costless, passed in the hope but not the expectation that they may partially reduce the perception of corruption. Our initial probe suggests that increased disclosure of political spending, including types of spending that are currently poorly reported (like lobbying) or not reported at all (like issue advocacy) is both popular and, given recent technological advances in the presentation of political data, may have more influence on public opinion and media elites than existing research on disclosure suggests. On the other hand, we acknowledge that emergent disclosure practices may not generate only positive political outcomes. By shining light on some areas, some donors will adapt by exploring ways to help politicians without exposing themselves to public view. Moreover, it is worth considering that selective disclosure of donors is often exploited for partisan gain by political insiders; these practices can have a chilling effect on legitimate political participation and advocacy. Moreover, it is possible that increased transparency could intensify public cynicism rather than mollify it. With new laws and technologies being applied to existing disclosure regimes, the new research on transparency of campaign finance has potential applications for other areas of government ethics and accountability.

Authors: Apollonio, Dorie. and La Raja, Raymond.
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wealthy interests and politicians will encourage legislation more reflective of a public interest.
However, given how little information is available about the effects of campaign contributions on
political decisions, the best policies may be those that are relatively costless, passed in the hope but
not the expectation that they may partially reduce the perception of corruption.
Our initial probe suggests that increased disclosure of political spending, including types of
spending that are currently poorly reported (like lobbying) or not reported at all (like issue advocacy)
is both popular and, given recent technological advances in the presentation of political data, may
have more influence on public opinion and media elites than existing research on disclosure
suggests. On the other hand, we acknowledge that emergent disclosure practices may not generate
only positive political outcomes. By shining light on some areas, some donors will adapt by
exploring ways to help politicians without exposing themselves to public view. Moreover, it is worth
considering that selective disclosure of donors is often exploited for partisan gain by political
insiders; these practices can have a chilling effect on legitimate political participation and advocacy.
Moreover, it is possible that increased transparency could intensify public cynicism rather than
mollify it. With new laws and technologies being applied to existing disclosure regimes, the new
research on transparency of campaign finance has potential applications for other areas of
government ethics and accountability.


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