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Campaign Finance Disclosure and Legislative Fundraising Behavior
Unformatted Document Text:  8 Methods Our review of the influence of campaign finance disclosure in this paper uses three main sources of data: (1) changes in state campaign finance laws; (2) a public opinion survey about campaign finance and legislative behavior; and (3) timing data on campaign contributions given by interest groups lobbying on particular issues and the legislative votes relevant to these issues. We note at the outset that our data collection on the timing of campaign contributions and votes is currently incomplete. In our results section, we discuss the activities to date of the organization that collects these data, MAPLight.org, and our expectation for when their data collection will be complete for at least two election cycles on the state and federal levels. To obtain data on changes in state campaign finance laws, we reviewed data collected by the National Conference of State Legislators on changes in state laws regarding campaigns and elections from 1999 to 2006. We chose to focus on changes in state law to increase the likelihood of finding any changes in campaign finance laws, which most sources suggest are fairly uncommon. We classified these laws based on summaries provided by each state regarding the bills passed in each legislature as consisting of (1) changes in reporting and disclosure, (2) changes in contribution or expenditure limits, (3) new advertising restrictions, (4) new penalties and enforcement, (5) changes in ballot ordering and printing or in voter registration, (6) the funding of studies of campaigns and elections, or (7) what we referred to as “substantive changes”, primarily the establishment of a public financing system. When a bill made multiple changes to the campaign and elections law in the state, we counted each separately; as a result, our total changes exceed then number of actual laws passed in all states. We use these data to test our first hypothesis that changes in campaign finance law are uncommon, and our second hypothesis that the most common legal changes are modifications to disclosure laws.

Authors: Apollonio, Dorie. and La Raja, Raymond.
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8
Methods
Our review of the influence of campaign finance disclosure in this paper uses three main
sources of data: (1) changes in state campaign finance laws; (2) a public opinion survey about
campaign finance and legislative behavior; and (3) timing data on campaign contributions given by
interest groups lobbying on particular issues and the legislative votes relevant to these issues. We
note at the outset that our data collection on the timing of campaign contributions and votes is
currently incomplete. In our results section, we discuss the activities to date of the organization that
collects these data, MAPLight.org, and our expectation for when their data collection will be
complete for at least two election cycles on the state and federal levels.
To obtain data on changes in state campaign finance laws, we reviewed data collected by the
National Conference of State Legislators on changes in state laws regarding campaigns and elections
from 1999 to 2006. We chose to focus on changes in state law to increase the likelihood of finding
any changes in campaign finance laws, which most sources suggest are fairly uncommon. We
classified these laws based on summaries provided by each state regarding the bills passed in each
legislature as consisting of (1) changes in reporting and disclosure, (2) changes in contribution or
expenditure limits, (3) new advertising restrictions, (4) new penalties and enforcement, (5) changes in
ballot ordering and printing or in voter registration, (6) the funding of studies of campaigns and
elections, or (7) what we referred to as “substantive changes”, primarily the establishment of a public
financing system. When a bill made multiple changes to the campaign and elections law in the state,
we counted each separately; as a result, our total changes exceed then number of actual laws passed
in all states. We use these data to test our first hypothesis that changes in campaign finance law are
uncommon, and our second hypothesis that the most common legal changes are modifications to
disclosure laws.


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