Better Parties, Better Government
A Realistic Program for Campaign Finance Reform

  • Title:

    Better Parties, Better Government
  • Paperback Price:

    30.00
  • Format:

    HardCover
  • Hardcover Price:

    30.00
  • Hardcover ISBN:

    978-0-8447-4270-0
  • Hardcover Dimensions:

    6" x 9"
  • 182 Hardcover pages
  • Buy the Book

Click here to view Better Parties, Better Government as an Adobe PDF.

Praise for Better Parties, Better Government

"Today's campaign finance system, by preventing parties from financing their candidates, unfairly protects the interests of incumbents. Wallison and Gora clearly showcase how the American political process can refocus on satisfying the needs of its citizens simply by returning authority to the political parties. Better Parties, Better Government points to the one campaign finance reform that can actually bring reform to American politics."

—Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

"This book brilliantly shows how and why campaign finance laws, while claiming to eliminate corruption and enhance fair elections, instead did little more than protect incumbents against electoral challenges. Whether the authors' creative proposals work remains to be seen. But this book changes the paradigm of thinking on this issue, and is now the ultimate source for anyone who cares about how a democracy should work."

—Ira Glasser, former Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union

"Extremely well written, almost qualifying as a page-turner."

--Tom Bethell, The American Spectator

Book summary:

Every federal campaign finance reform law enacted since 1971—ostensibly intended to keep politicians honest and limit the influence of contributors—has in reality protected incumbents by reducing the funds available to challengers. Although the courts have struck down many of the most egregious incumbent-protection measures enacted by Congress, important ones still remain—particularly restrictions on what political parties can spend in support of their candidates. These restrictions explain why reelection rates for incumbents are so high—up to 98 percent in recent years—despite record-low approval ratings for Congress.

The most effective way to change this pro-incumbent system is to lift the restrictions on political parties, allowing them to become both the principal vehicles for political fundraising and the principal sources of campaign funds for their candidates. This would improve funding resources for challengers, strengthen the parties, reduce the appearance of corruption inherent in the current candidate-centered fundraising system, and ultimately strengthen American democracy.

In Better Parties, Better Government: A Realistic Program for Campaign Finance Reform, Peter J. Wallison and Joel M. Gora guide us through the complex tangle of laws, rules, regulations, exceptions, exemptions, and safe harbors that constitute our current campaign finance regime, and explain how to reform the system with a single change: ending the restrictions on spending by political parties in support of their candidates. This single reform will make elections more competitive, improve the candidate and policy choices available to voters, and thereby transform American politics.

Peter J. Wallison is the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. A former general counsel of the U.S. Treasury department, he was also counsel to Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller and White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan.

Joel M. Gora is a professor at Brooklyn Law School and former legal counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union. As an ACLU lawyer, he represented the plaintiffs in the Buckley v. Valeo case, arguing that the requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act violated the rights protected by the First Amendment and heavily favored incumbents.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Peter J.
Wallison

What's new on AEI

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.