What Does Research Say About Public Funding for Political Campaigns?

David M. Primo

The issue of public funding for political campaigns is heating up as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to take up the case of Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, a First Amendment challenge by the Institute for Justice to Arizona’s public funding law. Legal challenges to similar laws in Connecticut and Florida continue to work their way through the courts, and the U.S. Congress is considering the Fair Elections Now Act, which would provide congressional candidates with government money to run for office. Public funding advocates often make bold claims about the benefits of these systems, but scientific evidence supporting these claims is scarce. This research brief examines the evidence about the effects of public funding.

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