Date of Award


Degree Name

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Simon D. Perry

Second Advisor

Troy Stewart

Third Advisor

Cheryl Brown

Fourth Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


Thesis Statement

Congressional attempts to enact reform in the financing of political campaigns may unavoidably violate the First Amendment2 to the United States Constitution and its guarantees of freedom of speech and association. As a result, the core issue that must be resolved in the campaign finance reform debate is whether campaign finance reform is unavoidably unconstitutional. and opponents (anti-reformists)4 of campaign finance reform have been engaging in an extended ad hoc debate over reform measures without adequately confronting the critical core issue that continues to prevent key reform measures from being adopted: does the First Amendment prohibit campaign finance reform?

Statement of the Problem

The process used by the American nation to elect political leaders naturally lends itself to investigation by a political scientist. An investigation may be conducted on many different levels to gather both empirical data and normative insights into the vitality of the American elections process to determine whether it is democratic and egalitarian in nature. Traditionally, an enduring tenet of American political ideology has been the concept of an open, free and fair electoral process. This tenet is based upon a notion of equality, and those chosen to exercise political power and formulate public policy are theoretically selected by the citizenry at large in a process embodied by the traditional refrain of “one person, one vote”. Perhaps nowhere else in American society is the concept and ideal of equality given as much value as it is in the elections mechanism employed by this country.

Presently, a great deal of debate is occurring in both academic and nonacademic circles as to whether the reality of the American electoral process is at odds with its traditional egalitarian ideology. Many scholars, politicians and individual citizens have concluded that the American electoral process is controlled by special interests, and that the wealthy have a pronounced edge when it comes to deciding who is to be elected to hold political office. As a result, reforming the process of campaign financing has become an enduring agenda item for political discussion. The attention of the general public, academics, politicians and all concerned with the American political elections process has made campaign finance reform an important topic to analyze.


Campaign funds – United States.

Campaign funds – Law and legislation – United States.