Money in Politics

Policy

Money in Politics

Overview

CED believes that the success of American democracy depends on an engaged electorate, a transparent campaign finance system, and on fair and impartial courts.  Since 2000, CED has conducted extensive research and created policy solutions that address the role of hidden money, foster greater citizen participation in elections, and insulate state courts from political influence.

In recent years, CED has conducted the following activities to address the corrupting influence of Money in Politics:

  • Through state and national polling, CED surveyed business leaders’ perspectives about the role of money in politics and bipartisan reforms for policymakers to enact.

    • Conducted poll of Chicago business executives about influence and corruption in city policies and politics.

    • Polled New Mexico business leaders about their perceptions of money in politics and proposals the New Mexico state Legislature may consider to change transparency laws and the campaign finance system.

  • Members speak at policy forums and to state and national lawmakers about the importance of reform to improve trust in our democratic institutions.

  • Conducted an analysis of financial activity in the 2014 elections, as well as the 2016 cycle, from January 2015 through July 2016, to gain further insight into the behavior of corporations and business organizations in the wake of Citizens United.

  • Explored the numerous ways in which government-private sector transactions have reduced economic efficiency at the expense of the public interest. 

CED Policy Recommendations

CED has developed recommendations for both policy makers and business leaders to adopt to decrease the impact of Crony Capitalism:

  • Business leaders must refrain from pursuing crony deals and become spokesmen for the importance of competition on a level playing field.

  • Business leaders must demand the same disclosure and transparency in our electoral system that they are required to offer in their firms’ finances.

  • Policy makers should implement a matching system for small-dollar contributions for federal elections that will make it possible for our elected policymakers to run without reliance on big-dollar donors.

  • More states should move from election-based to appointment-based judicial systems, to end the unseemly reliance of prospective judges on contributions from individuals and interests who may later come before the bench.

  • Create a commission-based appointment process to hold judges accountable. Commissions should be independent and nonpartisan, and responsible for preparing a list of nominees for judicial appointments to be made by a state’s governor.

  • Develop judicial performance evaluation commissions. These independent and nonpartisan entities would be responsible for recommending whether a judge should be retained in office. Recommendations would be made available to the public and the relevant appointing authority.

Additional Resources

  • Judicial Selection: An Interactive Map
    • Approximately 95 percent of all cases in the United States are filed in state courts. State court judges decide cases that touch on virtually every aspect of Americans’ lives, from school funding to the rights of the accused. Because state courts have a profound impact on the country’s legal and policy landscape, choosing state court judges is a consequential decision. And, in recent decades, judicial selection has become increasingly politicized, polarized, and dominated by special interests — particularly but not exclusively in the 39 states that use elections to choose at least some of their judges.
    • Brennan Center for Justice, Judicial Selection: An Interactive Map

Resources

Podcasts

News & Media

Partners

Subcommittee Co-Chairs

Anthony J. Corrado, Jr.
Professor of Government
Colby College
Robert J. Kueppers
Senior Partner, Global Regulatory & Public Policy (Retired)
Deloitte LLP
Jane Sherburne
Principal
Sherburne PLLC
Nathan O. Rosenberg
Founding Partner - California
Insigniam