Three NYU School of Law faculty members have teamed up with political scientists from around the country to participate in a major research project to study the campaign finance system in the United States. Now underway, the project is expected to result in a public report to be issued in 2017.  

Robert BauerThe project has been organized by Robert Bauer and Benjamin Ginsberg, formerly co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA), and the PCEA’s former senior research director, Stanford Law Professor Nathaniel Persily. With support and other assistance from the Hewlett Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and the Hoover Institution, the project will involve an independent and rigorous examination of how money in a rapidly changing campaign system is being raised and spent, drawing on careful data collection and quantitative analysis, with additional material drawn for qualitative assessment from information made available by campaigns, parties and other political organizations.

Benjamin GinsbergSince their collaboration on the PCEA, Bauer, Ginsberg and Persily have continued to work together on election administration issues through the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC.  Bauer is also a professor of practice and distinguished scholar in residence at NYU Law, where he teaches political law and reform.  He is also co-director of the Law School’s Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic. Others from NYU Law participating in the campaign finance project are law and democracy experts Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, and Richard Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law. NYU Law will also provide logistical support for the project.

The project’s report will not feature policy recommendations but will provide a descriptive account of campaign finance, including attention to political parties; independent and other non-party organizations; the changing media environment, such as the uses of digital communication and social media; disclosure of campaign funding and spending; and issues specific to the presidential campaign process.

Posted November 19, 2015