Election Law: Campaign Finance (LAW-795EL-001)
U* Notice - This course as offered *may* be eligible to satisfy Upper Level Writing Requirement. Students must have an explicit conversation with the professor no later than the end of the add/drop period, confirming that they intend to use the course assignment to fulfill the ULWR. Students must inquire and professors must agree to supervise the ULWR in writing. Students must present a written product for grading that meets both ULWR standards and the requirements of the course assignment.
The ability to run for office, the protection of political speech embodied in the First Amendment and elected officials being responsive to the electorate are all essential to a functioning democracy. But running for office, giving speeches, and getting heard takes money. How we fund our elections can affect who runs for office, how candidates campaign, the issues discussed, the information voters receive, to whom elected officials are responsive once in office, and opportunities for real and apparent corruption.
Attempts to address these issues include requiring the disclosure of campaign finance information, limiting the size and source of contributions, and finding alternative methods to finance campaigns. This class will focus on the laws, including the Federal Election Campaign Act, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), Internal Revenue Code, Lobbying Disclosure Act, and government ethics rules, as well as the significant court decisions, that have created out current campaign finance laws.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
Case Materials Pack (CMP):There is no course textbook. The primary reading material will be found in Course Material Pack (CMP), which can be viewed or downloaded from the course portal. (It is about 650 pages, so you may want to download it.) It contains the cases I've assigned, many of which I've edited for the course. The “CMP” page assignments in the syllabus are to the actual page numbers in the packet.
Other Reading Material: A copy of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) (https://www.fec.gov/resources/cms-content/documents/feca.pdf) and Federal Election Commission regulations (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2021-title11-vol1/pdf/CFR-2021-title11-vol1.pdf) can be downloaded from the FEC. Other reading assigned for a class (e.g., articles, statutes, FEC publications) will be provided or linked to under module for that class. Any new material (e.g., new court opinions or news articles) will be provided on the portal.
Optional Reading: Readings designated as “optional” are truly optional. They are articles or other writings (including a couple of op-eds I’ve authored) you might or might not find interesting. (There’s no extra credit for citing something I wrote on the exam.)
Class PowerPoints: I plan to use PowerPoints for each class. In most cases, the PowerPoint will be uploaded to the portal the night before the class.
A Minor Complication: In 2014, the Federal Election Campaign Act and other laws relating to elections and voting were relocated from Title 2 of the United States Code to a new Title 52, and the sections were renumbered. Title 26, which covers public funding, was not changed. This means that opinions prior to 2014 cite to the provisions of Title 2. The FEC's compilation of the law includes a conversion chart. This is important. While the statutory sections referenced in the syllabus are to Title 52, everything you read that predates the change (which includes many of the cases) will refer to the Title 2 code section number.
First Class Readings
U.S. v. UAW (1957) 352 U.S. 567 (1957) CMP 4-11
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) CMP:12-29 (Up to Section II.)
McConnell v. FEC, 540 U.S. 93 (2003) (Section I) CMP 152-149 (Up to Part III
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