There is a perception in the United States that campaign contributions equate with vote buying. Outright vote buying is illegal, but many citizens believe that loopholes in campaign contribution laws allow some to buy votes while perpetuating a façade of legitimacy. Both federal and state laws attempt to regulate campaign contributions, but many of those have been limited by the Supreme Court’s ruling that campaign spending is considered free speech (Buckley vs. Valeo, 1976). Without the ability to limit campaign spending, the amount of money it takes to run a campaign, particularly a presidential campaign, has increased substantially. This had led to an increase in the use of bundling by presidential campaigns, with the winners often rewarding their bundlers. It has also led to an increase in outside independent organizations, known as Super PACs, with an unlimited ability to raise and spend money. This creates an additional problem as a small percentage of wealthy individuals constitute the vast majority of campaign contributors, leading to the perception that politicians cater to the elite. Whether a politician is affected by these factors or not is hard to prove, but it still leaves a perception by voters that their votes are less influential than large campaign contributors and there is always a risk that a vote has been bought.
Prunty, R. and Swartzendruber, M. (2017), "Campaign Contributions and Vote Buying", Corruption, Accountability and Discretion (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 29), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 61-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720170000029004Download as .RIS
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