tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 28, 2016 7:00pm-8:04pm EST
affected things, is to think about what would have happened if buckley hadn't happened? so i agree with what was said in response to that, that probably we have more candidates for office, probably if buckley hadn't happened, there'd be more potential for opportunism and manipulating regulations to try to disadvantage the party not in power, and because buckley put a constraint on the nature of regulations, we don't see that so much. that constitutional constraint on regulations you could blame for, if you want to call it, incoherence in the current system, but the current system isn't what was dictated by the court. the current system is what congress and the president can change and so, you know, political -- those political actors would deserve more blame if you think the current system is incoherent. probably what we've seen over time is some unwillingness on the part of reform groups to
live within the constitutional con strastraints of buckley and that's what's led to some of this sort of starts and fits of reform. the other thing i think buckley has changed, or what would be different if there hadn't been buckley, is that probably political parties would be much stronger and much more in control of their candidates, much more influential over their candidates and so that would probably be a big difference as well. >> yeah, i was going to ask you about what do you think the impact would have been on parties? can you give us a reason why do you think the parties would be stronger if, under that scenario? >> well, the parties are a source of resources, of brand name, and so if candidates are less free to raise their own resources, make their own brand, then they have to rely on the parties more. and, therefore, you're going to see more party discipline and you see, you know, more powerful
parties in the u.s. like you see in european countries. there wouldn't be a ted cruz. he couldn't exist, and so that's probably a big difference is that charismatic candidates have the ability to raise their own resources and to build a brand for themselves outside of the party. >> jay, you mentioned it seems like a never-ending campaign or endless campaign, i think it was your word. >> yes. >> has there been -- have you done any research or has anyone done research beyond -- the center has published something on this, but i wonder if others have looked at what has been the impact of the federal election campaign act and the contribution limits and the whole system that we're left with on the length of campaigns? has there been any difference there, any -- >> well, one of the -- in some ways this answers your first question as well. one of the things that the
federal election campaign acts did, and the part that buckley maintained, was a more robust disclosure regime. and so there has not been a lot of study about what campaigns were like before the federal election campaign act partly because we didn't have a lot of information on what was being done. and so we don't really know. we do know there are already some trends toward candidate-centered campaigns before buckley that, and a little bit away from parties, and this was a major source of concern about how costs were already spiraling out of control, and so that's one of the reasons that in the original federal election campaign act that they put in not only the contribution limits but put in the expenditure limtss to hold the cost down, wouldn't have to spend as much time. the democrats at that time were especially worried because the republicans at that time were better at raising money than
they were, so they want -- parts of what was mentioned in the previous panel, it was partly a political advantage that they were looking for. it's hard to say what would be different, you know, in terms of how were campaigns before buckley? and how were campaigns after? because we just have so little. but we do know, riktght, things have gotten more expensive with the media. we see that as people -- candidates spend more time raising money because their opponents spend more time raising money so that's a rou roundabout way saying we don't know exactly what it's like. we can see there are people spending more time campaigning now than they did, say, 40 years ago. >> and it is hard to say one of the reasons both jay and i are going to be kind of a little hesitant to make definitive proclamations is we're kind of coming at this from the social science perspective and i don't mean that as a criticism.
but we're trying to speak to what do we know, what do we actually know what the studies tell us, and, you know, when you're looking at, say, the federal campaign finance environment before and after buckley, lots of other things changed. it's hard to identify what that causal impact of buckley is. so, you know, we're seeing people spending more time campaigning, but we're also seeing more competition for control of congress. we're seeing some very close presidential elections. maybe that's a cause of buckley. maybe that would have happened without buckley. and maybe that's the cause of increasing campaigning. often when we talk about money and politics, we sort of come at it from this fantasy world that if only we could wave a magic wand to get money out of politics, everything would be rainbows and puppies and be different and better. but people are spending a lot of time and effort raising money and campaigning because they
want to win. and you could take away money and politics and people still will want to win. they're going to spend a lot of time and effort doing whatever they can if that's courting unions or courting a special interest groups and other ways they're going to do that. so you're not gong to change that desire to win, the desire to expend a lot of effort on winning and when there's a potential to win, people work harder it try to win, so we've seen more competition in federal elections. and with that, you've seen an increase in the length of campaigns and the amount of resources devoted to campaigns and that probably was going to be true with or without buckley. >> that your comments made me think of what you commonly hear when you hear about new regulations or new limits. either on contributions or expenditures. and some people have made the point or the claim that money or efforts will still flow to try
to influence elections, even indirectly. has there -- probably most famously in, i guess, around 2004, there were these 527 groups, the parties had issue ads that came up which then -- which was before the mccain/feingold act, obviously. but have there been studies showing after contribution limits were in effect, was there this hydraulic effect where money went to other avenues to try to influence the elections? >> certainly what you find, following your hydraulic effect, is there is a lot of money, as i said before, that wants to be in the system. if you want to say there is almost unlimited demand and when you constrain the supply in one place, what you generally find is it will show up in another place, and so when you might
have the issue advocacy, we try to shut down issue advocacy versus express advocacy which is part of the buckley regime that we're not going to allow certain organizations to make certain statements at certain times, right? that's part of the bicra reform. 527s were another way of trying to figure out, all right, now that we're not allowed to do the following thing -- actually 527s became before but the same time the soft money is coming up. once you try to clamp down in one area you find the people that are interested, these operatives that were mentioned in the previous panel that want to make their voices heard or represent interests that want to make their voices heard, they try to figure out another way to make their voices heard, so that might be a 527 organization, that might be -- it might be an issue advocacy organization. they want to make their voices heard. so certainly what the general
studies of financing elections find that once you shut down an area in one place, another avenue opens up where people try to exploit another area through which that money can flow. and so now the reformers, they are worried about the money flowing through 501 c4 organizations, 501 c4, 5, and 6 organizations. that's where they're expressing saying weneed to clamp down on these organizations so that money can't go through. sometimes i call this the dark money. and certainly if you look across time, every one of my colleagues does a book every year on financing, the latest presidential election. and his finding is that the money keeps flowing through these digit organizations. it might be the issue advocacy organization, might be the 501c organizations but it keeps
moving. >> so just to amplify that, if you think of the evolution of campaign finance law, good government groups and reform groups have basically been playing whack-a-mole with money interests so you have the federal election campaign acts and those amendments then behavior changes. we had nominal contribution limits for many years and as those became more and more binding, you saw the rise of issue advocacy and soft money contributions to parties and come back and you whack that and that moves into the 527s and ultimately into superpacs and now we're going to whack that. you know, there's always a boundary to the regulated campaign speech, and so this hydraulic theory is just the idea that you can push that boundary back, but then the moneyed interests and people who want to be involved in politics are going to be operate just outside that. and so you're not changing the fundamental demand and supply of
interested money. >> are either of you -- i seem to recall reading a study to talk about ways people can try to influence elections. the value of oprah's endorsement of barack obama in 2008. am i remembering this right? was there a study on that? do either of you recall any, some of the details about what was found in that study? >> it was big. it was big. i remember that. oprah's big, and it was big. so, this leads into kind of a bigger point which is there's a -- there's two different conventional wisdoms about the role of money in politics and sort of the general public, many pund pundits, even politicians, have this notion that money plays this outsized role in politics. and that's the lens with which we view the world and interpret things. and those of us who study it and try to come at it from a
scientific approach, you know, there's a different conventional wisdom within academia among people who studty mon tt tty mo politics. we disafree on a number of points, but what we tend to find is money doesn't play as big a role as people think. and that's -- that's an easy thing to say because people think it plays such an outsized role. so getting back to this point here, studies of the treatment effect of campaign spending, how many minds does it change, how many votes does it change, tend to come up with small numbers, often statistically insignificant. and part of the way to understand that is in a world in which there's a lot of communication about politics, the marginal effect of a little more spending isn't that big, isn't that impactful. so campaign spending isn't that big, but the effect of celebrity endorsements, or being a celebrity, is equivalent to big
piles of money, and we're sort of seeing that and is effective. and so when you -- this is maybe a corollary to the hydraulic theory. you try to turn off the money, you make those other sources of influence all the more important. maybe if more people could participate by giving more money, maybe celebrities wouldn't play such an important role where we care what brad pitt thinks about politics. which that's crazier than anything trump says probably. maybe not. >> well, one of the things, clearly, that came out of the buckley decision is the court endorsed the concept of contribution limits. so i'd like to move some attention to that for a minute. is there anything in the literature about the impact on contribution limits, on the candidates who run? i mean, are we getting a different class of candidates? are we getting more self-funder
candidates? are we getting fewer candidates altogether? i mean, i think of -- i heard an anecdote that george will gave at our anniversary gala last month and he said, i think it was -- i forget, it was a senator from maryland and he was waiting for the buckley decision to come out and was going to decide whether or not to run for president based on whether contribution limits were upheld or not. when he heard they were, he decided he wasn't going to run. i think he remembered gene mccarthy's run being financed very, very late in the game and mccarthy ended up spending the equivalent of i believe it was $82 a vote in new hampshire which i think even today is probably a tremendous sum for a presidential campaign in a particular state. while gene mccarthy didn't win, he did force president johnson out of the race. so, has there been any literature or studies on the
impact of the type of candida s candidates -- >> a place you would look for this type of effect is when, because we don't have data before the campaigns took place before buckley is when we had the mccain/fine hold or bicra in place, which is when you raise the individual limit for contributions went from $1,000 to, if i'm remembering right, $2,000, indexed. since that time it's been going up because it's been falling per election. and the literature that i've seen, and the studies that i've seen and the data that i've looked at, myself, doesn't show any real difference in the number of candidates that are running or the types of candidates that are running. it simply changes the sources of
the money. so what you see in the house. people see the same thing. we've seen congressional elections, is you see people, candidates moving from funding their campaigns more from -- rather from pacs so individual donations because now it's less costly to raise money through individual donations. whereas especially house candidates before mccain/feingold, they raised a l lot of money through political action committees. that's one of the changes as a result of the changing contribution limits. it goes once again to the hydraulic theory, when you make it harder to raise money in one area or easier to raise money in one area, if it's easier, the money flows in that direction. now it's easier to raise money from individuals than it was before. >> so this question of what do
limits accomplish is interesting because the typical way to answer it would be to start talking about competition, number of candidates or how much money that's being raised from this or that source and those are all legitimate things to talk about. i want to take it a little different direction, though. -- prevent corruption, appearance of corruption. that's one obvious mace we should be looking to evaluating campaign finance regulations.mad be looking to evaluating campaign finance regulations. do they accomplish those goals? and if you do try to look at that one, one way to do it that i've done is use the states as laboratories. the states have different campaign finance regimes. they've changed over time. you get a nice variation in rules. you can control other factors and you can answer the question. what is the treatment effect, causal effect of major types of campaign finance regulations,
contribution limits, with financing, et cetera, on the incidence of corruption. we don't have great measures of corruption, admittedly. if you use the standard off-the-shelf measure of corruption, you don't find any effect there. maybe that's because corruption by its nature is hidden and so we're maybe, you know, looking for something we're not going to see very easily. the other thing you can do is look at this idea of the appearance of corruption. and one way to interpret what the appearance of corruption means is how much trust and confidence do people have in government? that's the standard kind of measure that political scientists use to measure the integrity of institutions. and, again, what you find is that the treatment effect, the causal effect of state campaign finance regulations, campaign contribution limits, public funding, no impact on trust and confidence in government.
now, those kinds of evaluation studies are rarely done and partly that may be because people don't like the constraints that the court put on campaign finance reform. and want to look other places. want to look at competitiveness or want to look at other things. but on this point, i want to say often we're looking at intermediate goals. when it comes to money and politics, people have this theory of money and politics, it's just bad and we just need to drain the swamp. we're not quite sure how or why it's making the system corrupt, we just need a blood letting or drain the swamp, whatever analogy you want. and that intermediate goal is good enough, rather than looking before and after reforms and saying, has politics changed for the better when we adopt reforms? do we see better public policies? those are inherently normative things, but we could say, you know, do we see less special
interest influence over particular kinds of policies, say, tobacco taxes or alcohol taxes? do we see more economic growth? to we see greater voter turnout? whatever your source of bottom line measure of good policy, of good policy is, let's do evaluation studies of that. they're rarely done. when you do look at those kinds of things, what you tend to see is campaign finance rules, whether contribution limits or public financing, don't effect those kind of bottom line measures very much. so that's my pitch. >> various contribution regimes. public trust in government. if you look over time, public trust in government has gone down steadily.
is that correct? the trust in government has gone down in states pretty much the same, first of all, has it gone down and the second is i guess the rate of decrease is the same no matter what kind of campaign finance regime you have. >> so trust in government is in general declining and it's also true that campaign spending in general is increasing, increasing faster than rate of inflation, and so if that sort of baseline correlation, you see those things going together. but what we do is better than correlation. we're doing science here. and so we're trying to get at cause l effects so that's why it's important to look at across states where there's variations in rules and try to isolate those causal effects, so when you do that, the lesson from the simple correlation isn't borne out when you look more carefully. you know, you need a ph.d. it's not as simplistic as
looking at basic correlations, but looking at trying to identify these causal relationships because that's what would be informative. that's what we want to know. that's what's informative about if, you know, in missouri, it's the wild west of money and politics. anybody can give any amount. and -- >> to any candidate or party, right? >> that's right. yeah. whoever. whatever. they all -- you know. it's the only thing they're tolerant about. so it's the wild west and so you'd like to know, though, in you impose contribution limits, how would things change? you want an answer to that causal question. and so that's what folks like jay and myself and ray laraja try to do those kind of evaluation studies. >> let me ask, then, one of the things that you often hear about when a lot of money is spent on a race that especially if it's done by these independent
groups, that somehow this will drown out people's voices, it will make -- it will turn people off from politics and things like that. so are there studies that show correlations or causations i guess is what the ph.d.s in the room would do. i mean, what is the impact? does more spending lead to turned off voters or more turnout or more informed or less informed voters? i mean, what's the research show on that? >> well, what you find in general is that it's hard to isolate, of course, because what you -- the places that the candidates are spending money along with outside groups, such as superpacs or interest groups, whatever the current avenues are, the places that they spend money are also the places where it's a competitive election.
and so a competitive election is a different -- this is one of the things that we're trying to isolate, right, we're trying to figure out, suppose we had a competitive election and we put in a bunch of money from outside groups and compared that to a situation where you had a competitive election where you didn't have a lot of outside money come from other groups. that's hard to find. those types of situations. that's what you'd actually like to compare. because when you have these competitive elections, it's a different environment. the voters are generally more informed is what you find in a general election. sorry, in competitive election. because there's more voices, there's more advertising, there's more things going on. and so what was mentioned in the previous panel, in ohio, right, during the presidential primaries, or during the general election, they are overwhelmed with advertisements so much so that they almost are turned off by it, that they don't want to see anymore. i'm informed enough, i don't
want to hear anymore. that's what's hard to control for at the same time for these outside groups. when you ask people about money and politics, they have a simple idea that they just don't like money and politics. that the more money that they see, the less enchanted they are with our election system. >> and to build off that, that's absolutely right. if you ask people straight-up, you know, do you like superpacs? everybody knows the right answer is supposed to be, no, i don't like superpacs. do you want to see more campaign advertising? no, i don't want to see more campaigning. does it make you feel bad? yeah, it makes me feel bad. so if you ask public opinion surveys, we know what kind of answers you're going to get. what's interesting, though, is rather than going off those kinds of knee-jerk, socially acceptable responses, ask people about whether it's trust in government or knowledge in candidates in places that have
experienced more or less spending. so that that's what's being varied. that's the treatment. when you do that, there's some studies that have been done, one from several years ago, they tend to find that, if i remember the words of the authors, it was campaign spending is more boone than bane than democracy. boone is good, right? so, that you get greater knowledge, more participation, and so that there's good things associated with campaign spending. now we could quibble to the extent they appropriately controlled for the underlying competitiveness of races certainly and those studies need to be updated and let's look at superpac spending separately. maybe there's some differential effect. but that's the way you would try to get at what are the effects of money and politics? not sort of ask people who know
what the cool answer is to campaign spending. and, you know, along those lines, if you ask people things like do you think special interests have too much influence, they say, yeah, they have too much influence. and rarely do people get asked sort of compared to what? you know, so if you also ask people, do you think the media has too much influence? yeah, the media has too much influence. you think party leaders too much? absolutely. do you think candidates take positions just to make the other party look bad? oh, definitely. so, you know, there's a "compared to what" there. people have cynical attitudes about politicians but it's across the board. it's not just about money and politics. one last point. we're talking about trust in government. suppose it was the case that more campaign spending led to lower trust in government. it's not obvious that's a bad thing. does government really deserved to be trusted? a lot of bad things happen when people trust government.
so, you know, again, that's one of those kind of intermediate goals that people focus on rather than the -- >> what about the turnout question? is there any evidence that higher spending in campaigns leads to greater turnout or is that a correlation? not causation effect? where does it -- i mean, some of the claims being made by these additional independent spending is it's too negative and turning people off and some people aren't voting as a result. what's the evidence on these questions? >> so, the -- there's some mixed evidence on the tone of advertising, and so i don't know that we have anything close to a consensus on that. when it comes to sort of overall advertising, again, there's some -- it depends how you try
to get at this question. one way would be to look at places with more or less advertising. do you get higher or lower turnout? and because advertising is going to be associated with competition, you're going to -- it's going to be hard to undo that basic correlation that more spending is associated with higher turnout. if, instead, you look at jurisdictions with different campaign finance regulations, and whether -- and change the question, not whether spending is creating turnout, but whether regulation -- then, again, i'd say, you know, some mixed evidence, public financing, you -- you get some studies going each way but you don't get huge effects of different campaign finance laws on turnout. that's my sense of the -- >> that's right. so there's -- the place that people have tried to work on this, the reason you get mixed evidence is because different
campaigns have been more effective at mobilizing than others, so there have been a number of studies about trying to figure out how, what are the most effective ways to turn out people to vote in a campaign? it turns out often the most effective ways are also the most expensive ways where you send people from house to house. and ask them to vote, even better, with someone that they know or someone that they might trust a little bit more. and that's really expensive. and so if you -- if you want to mobilize people to vote, if you want to increase your turnout, that's what the academic studies have found and that's more effective, they found, than, say, doing television advertising. >> well, one of the other provisions upheld in buckley is this new -- well, then, new concept of disclosure to contributions candidates in political parties. so i guess one of the questions is, what sort of effects, if any, has been seen from this
disclosu disclosure? and then more particularly, what effect is there, if any, on willingness to give contributions? i mean, certainly when the disclosure regime was invented in the 1970s, if you wanted to see the contributions, you had to go to a filing cabinet at either the state government capitol or in the drawers of the federal election commission. and today all you have to is go on the internet, type in something, or go to a website and you can find out anyone's donations to anything. is this having impacts on -- is it helping because people like to take credit for donations? or is it -- or might it be suppressing donations? are people trying to stay under the public threshold for disclosure? what sort of information is there on this? >> well, i'm going to do the usual thing and say how difficult it is to study that, again, because what you'd really want to do is you'd want to compare the people who are donating below the limit to the
people who are donating above the limit. but it's actually very difficult to find the people who are donating below the limit because they're not disclosed. it so happens that some colleagues and i were able to study some undisclosed donors and to presidential campaigns and we were able to compare them to the disclosed donors and what you find is that there are -- we didn't get to ask them were you donating below $200 because you didn't want to be seen? but we were able to find out various demographic things and attitudinal things about them to ask them questions about what kind of people they were and, say, were there more polarized, were they more extreme? because that's one of the things people worry about small donors is maybe they're the extreme donors. what we found in our surveys is the people just below the limit look a lot like the people just above the limit, that they are ideologically and demographically very similar.
so there has to be something else going on besides those two things to say that there's a difference between those who are disclosed versus those who are undisclosed. >> and dave premo at university of rochester has done some interesting work on disclosurep of rochester has done some interesting work on disclosure more on the side of what are the benefits of disclosure? so the focus has been more what are the costs of disclosure? often there are presumed large benefits of disclosure and what premo and others have seen is the kinds of information that is disclosed is not often made use of by ordinary citizen and often not made use of in advertisements. so if you're thinking of places you might look to adjust the law a little bit, you know, why do you need to know the employer of someone who gives money? or, you know, why do you need their home address?
why should that be available forever on the internet? and often i think disclosure laws are, you know, motivated more by, well, we want to drain the swamp, we want to do anything we can to try to impede money and politics. the courts will let us do disclosure, let's have disclosure and disclaimers on ads and the point of it is to try to limit money, not because there's some actual public benefit coming from that information. and where you probably see more negative effects of this would be below the federal level, at the federal level you've got big interest groups, big professionalized interest groups, they all have lawyers, they can handle whatever regulations you throw at them. down at the state level, the local level, where it's more likely more ordinary citizens to sort of band together and, you know, try to get involved in politics, it's very easy for them to run afoul of you didn't register as a political committee, now you -- so there's a fine for that. and then you didn't file your
quarterly report, there's a fine for that. you didn't file the addendum to the quarterly report, there's a fine to that. pretty soon it adds up. it's kind of anecdotal evidence. you do see some cases where these kinds of registration and disclosure rules can be used to go after less savvy participants in politics. and that's something that's unfortunate. so when it comes to -- i tend to agree with the sentiment when it comes to disclosure, you should put on your big boy pants and stand up for what you believe in. that's all well and good, but when the disclosure laws can be used to kind of go after well-meaning people who just aren't that savvy about all the ways in which we regulate political participation, that's a bad thing. >> that raises another question in my mind, has there been any studies of whether people are actually able to comply with these laws, any tests of, you
know, their ability to decipher the manuals for the instructions? compared to, say, the tax code? >> funny you should ask that. >> yes, yes. >> so i did kind of a fun study which was -- which was -- took ordinary people in missouri and gave them a really simple scenario, you know, of a citizen -- >> wait, how ordinary were these ordinary people? >> it's missouri. they're ordinary. >> where did you just grab them off the street? >> from my church, from posters, restaurants. we also had grad students as well. >> a few ordinary grad students. >> a variety of people. this can all be controlled for. this is the magic of statistics. >> turnout model. >> if you're going to throw softballs, you just throw the softball and walk away. you don't come back with criticism here.
so, anyway, if you give people a sort of a simple scenario, a citizens group wants to put up some yard signs, they have a meeting, they have some coffee and doughnuts, maybe they decide to buy a couple t-shirts and then present people with, okay, here's the rule book, here's the instructions for who has to file, who has to register as a committee, and, you know, take as much time as you want, but i'm going to pay you based on your right answers to try to incentivize people to work a little bit. i have seen many students in uncomfortable situations. nothing like this. people were so frustrated and so flummoxed because, i mean, these things aren't written for ordinary people. they're not written by ordinary -- they're not written for ordinary people. and so there's a lot of legalese and, you know, also before handing people instructions,
just ask them whether any of these kinds of activities were regulated, if they were going to run afoul of the law. people had no idea that a group of people pooling together, whether it's $100 in one jurisdiction or $200 in another, that that could be something dangerous. i know states have regulations on so-called grassroots lobbying which is talking not to legislators, but talking to other people. sometimes you don't even -- sometimes to qualify as grassroots lobbying, you have to be urging people to contact their legislators. or, but in some places, just talking about political issues to other people if you spend enough money doing it, or spend enough time doing it, you are now a grassroots lobbyist, you have to register, you have to file reports. there are restrictions on what you can do. so these are just some examples that, you know, i think these laws are often written with professional campaigns and advocacy groups in mind and we
forget that they're also binding down at the street level, down at the lower level and, you know, that's probably one place where maybe people from all sides could come up with some consensual reforms to sort of allow more that grassroots participation. >> to give an idea, what were -- did you grade these tests? how many people got all the answers right? >> they didn't do well. nobody got everything right. no. they didn't very poorly. they had no idea what was going on. they got very frustrated and angry. we did a little after the fact interview. people could write comments and there were some choice words. but, you know, common was this is worse than doing your taxes, you need a lawyer to do this, this is ridiculous. so when ordinary people are sort of confronted with those kinds of rules, they are quite surprised that, you know, these rules that often we envision being imposed on the nra or, you
know, some big organization, also have to be complied at the individual level, too. >> a lot of -- in terms of running campaigns, what you often hear from certain groups like emily's list or club for growth which specialize in early endorsements, they claim that early money is better if you want to exert influence over the campaign process versus money that comes in later. are are these groups right about that? or are you better off waiting until later so you know who the real -- the candidates who might actually emerge? has there been any study of this? >> the studies that have been done, i mean, it's what you can use the early money for. the nice thing about early money is you can use it early or use it late. that seems obvious. what you want to do with early money is you want to build an organization. you want to be able to build
that. those people on the ground who will go help turn out people to vote. you want to be able to have an organization ready to go when your opponent attacks you so you're agile enough and have enough resources to be able to respond in a timely manner and in a strong manner. so early money certainly is useful that way. one of the things that we find in the social sciences that's difficult is to disentangle money and, say, popularity, that the reason that some candidates are able to raise early money is because they are good candidates or they have popular positions. so, for instance, barack obama in 2008 raised a lot of money early, a lot more than people thought was possible rveg, and partly because he was such a good candidate, and then, you know, and then we also learned that when you look across, say, the presidential election cycle, when candidates do better in an
election, that is when they become more -- say, when they become more popular by showing, winning a primary election, then the money starts to flow in. so it's hard sometimes to disentangible how much money is driving popularity, and how much popularity is driving money. >> anything you want to, jeff? okay. i have one more question then we'll open it up to your questions. so if you -- matt, if you're here, if you could grab the microphone and get ready, or scott or someone. the other thing is, we've seen a fair amount of deregulation lately by the supreme court on campaign finance rules. have there been any studies yet of the impact of this deregulation on campaigns at this point? or is it still too early to say? or as we've often heard this afternoon, that we don't have a control group for this. >> you're referring to
independent -- >> independent expenditures primarily is the big change. superpacs. wisconsin right to life decision. among others. >> so, you know, one of the things about research is it's retrospective. so, you know, we kind of want answers now about things that are going on now. we're not going to know them now. that's just conjecture. so, but, you know, when it comes to independent expendtures, one thing you can do is, again, look down at the state level. there are variations across the states and there are independent expenditure regimes before citizens united, and you don't find any systemic relationship between allowing independent expenditures and trust in government or incidences of political corruption. that's one thing i can't answer from looking at the states. are you aware of some more systemic -- >> no, i mean, the studies that we've been able to do is when
you ask -- we haven't been able to do any studies in terms of -- systemically in terms of how it effects competition. what you have is stories newt gingrich is able to stay in the race longer because sheldon adelson gave millions of dollars to him through the superpac, enabled him to stay in. everyone basically agrees that was possible and you can decide if that was a good or a bad thing. what you find that when you ask people, when you ask people, what do they think about superpacs, the incarnation of independent expenditures of outside money is, that they don't like it and that's true for superpacs and it might even -- some of our studies might even effect donating behavior that people -- some people are actually -- when we asked donors, potential donors, are you motivated to donate because of superpacs or less motivated? there are some people who are more motivated that want to say, i want to have a balance from the superpacs, maybe we can get
all the small donations together and balance that, and there are people who are turned off by that kind of money in the system and say, no, i'd rather not even participate in the system. >> so i'll add to that, this is kind of sandbagging a little bit, jay, sorry. is that in general people have a negative attitude about money in politics and, yeah, especially so for superpacs but they also have this outsized notion of the role of money in politics. so if you ask people the last election cycle about what percent of political spending came from superpacs, the right answer is about 10%. and if you're very generous in how you're going to define outside spending and call all superpac, maybe that's what people are really thinki ining about, maybe you can get it up to 20%, if you ask people about how much of political campaign spending the last cycle was from superpacs, the median response is 67%.
only 2% of people say 25% or less. so people think superpacs are everything, and, of course, they don't like it. they think it's dominating everything. so when it comes to the public opinion about money and politics, the things to keep in mind is that, you know, people are extremely cynical, but they're also quite misinformed. not just uninformed, but misinformed. and one of my favorite polls, and i've repeated this, is you ask people some simple true pulse questions about money and politics, can corporations give directly to candidates? before citizens united that was easier as a true/false question. which party raised and spent more? if you put together some of those kinds of true/false questions and ask people to answer them, say, five questions, you'll find maybe 10% can get three or more right. think about that. five questions, true/false. get zero right, one right, two
right. six options. untrained gerbils pushing lef erls at random would expect to get half of them, three or more right. the general public, 10%, can do that. people aren't uninformed, they're -- the basic statistics, the basic kinds of laws that we have. so no wonder they're kind of cynical. they really think things are, you know, much more wide open than they are. >> all right. we're going to turn it over to your questions. so if you have a question, raise your hand and we'll get the mic microphone to you. >> hi. i have a question about -- the question of evidence. so in missouri, in the 8th circuit, actually made the
government present evidence as to whether corruption or the appearance of corruption was -- it wasn't just sort of proforma. they said what is your evidence that corruption exists through this ballot initiative in missouri? and when it went up to the supreme court, they just kind of tossed that in 2000 and said, well, you really don't -- the government really doesn't need to present evidence in the form of academic studies or any other thing to show that the appearance of corruption or actual corruption is a legitimate function. so it seems to me it can't be disproven, and no matter what you offer, at least supreme court circa 2000, no matter what you offer as evidence that raising the limits or not having limits or empirical studies from
states or any of this stuff can persuade the court that contribution limits won't be affected by corruption, it seems to be disproven and, therefore, it would be contribution limits just can't be, as a legal matter, they can't be disproven and, therefore, that seems to me it would make them unconstitutional. >> i'm not quite sure i followed at the end. was your point that no evidence will affect the court's view of the legitimacy -- >> no evidence did affect it in 2000. right. they presented evidence. the missouri pac presented evidence to say through academic studies, through -- >> present my evidence. so, look, we're academics. we're doing these studies. we have the luxury of being interested in truth. our goal is not to, you know,
overturn contribution limits, but to understand how the world works. what you people do with that is your business. so there's a couple things going on there. first i think that the. >> there's a couple things going on there. if you look at buckley, they're looking for corruption or the appearance of corruption. they're really looking for -- they made it more specific for quid pro quo. that's the kind of thing that constitutes corruption. you look at some of the later decisions in austin and mcconnell. that they expanded the definition of what constitutes corruption. which is, say, if i donate, am i more likely to get access to a legislator, will i be able to be heard? >> they found, this is one of
the reasons they went against soft money. it's easy to find that. the political parties would put out almost a menu. this is the kind of access you'll get. they would have an actual menu of here's what you get for 100,000, 200,000. the court found i think found that persuasive at that time is corruption. but that after, when we get back to citizens united. the quid pro quo standard. it's harder to find studies that demonstrate that. if you donate more money, can you get access to a legislator. you can find that even in contr controlled treatment studies
where -- so you can see that in the publications. it's very difficult to find in the academic literature, the quid pro quo. that's when you get -- when somebody gets more money it changes their vote. it's difficult to find. i think the court at one point said you don't need to see this very much. i think they are no longer at that point. at least the 13r50ek and the citizens united said we need a higher standard of evidence. >> we hear a lot today about political polarization. have there been any studies of that and have studies shown campaign finance for buckley, regulations make -- have created the polarization. have made it worse or anything like that?
>> ray has done some impressive work on this, and has looked at the effects of polarization in legislatures. and tends to find contributions working through the party have more of a moderating influence. i'm going to steal your words. is that parties want to win. they're not too concerned about it being i'd yo logically pure. so they can reign in the ideologs, you see less polarization, because it's in the interest of parties. >> any questions? question in the back. >> so you talked about earlier that there's not a lot of -- that more money means people are more informed.
there any difference or distinction. i'm from colorado, there's a lot of fracking going on out there. they're informed about it but not accurately informed. is there a delineation. >> in terms of good systematic studies, not so much. i mean, obviously, that's where the rabbit goes in the hat. who's the umpire to say, what's the accurate information, what's the inaccurate information. you could go down to the level of, do you know the name of the vice president, do you know the name of the two houses of congress. you may find some correlation the there. i don't know of a good
systematic study on that. >> the studies that are done are -- they tend to be more on the range of political psychology about -- under what circumstances do you get information that is correct. those studies generally find that you find -- you go and gather information that agrees with your point of view, and you discount information that disagrees with your point of view. you reinforce your existing biases. >> i think we have time for one more question. >> i heard it mentioned that one of the effects of more independent money and politics is that politicians have to spend more time seeking individual campaign contributions. has there been any research on the effect of that on their
effectiveness as congress people? do they have to rely more on staffers for being informed about issues because they don't have enough time to read substantive documents? >> looking another state legislatures where there's a claim that if there's more campaign spending, more time is spent on raising money versus other things. it was a simple cross section. at one point in time, and you're just not able to really control well for other factors. that is a frequent claim. and it's plausible. i want to caution it comes out of that rainbows and puppies view.
that if only they weren't spending time raising money, they would be like mr. smith goes to washington and be pure. it's the same people. and they still want to win and direct effort at winning. it's not changing their hearts. so people are allocating effort to maximize their utilities. and if that is going to be achieved by raising money to run ads to win re-election, that's what they'll do. if you make it harder for them to run ads. one fundamental is that you don't get less effort, you're going to get more effort redirected through other means. maybe it will be good ways. maybe they're going to right a perfect bill or maybe they're going to engage in more pandering and more trying to send favors to special interest groups in order to get those organizations behind them. it's not obvious you'd get
something better. you may get something different. >> if they spent a lot of time raising money, we're all safer. >> going back to the bigger picture. what you have is -- one of the effects of having this outside money come in, it makes members of congress, and makes state legislators more nervous, right? it makes them -- maybe that's a good thing. maybe it's a bad thing, it makes them raise more money. how is the buckley system affecting our campaign finance system. we have different classes of people that individuals and parties -- candidates and parties are treated one way, and individuals and interest groups are treated in another way, where they are unconstrained. what that makes, makes the candidates and the parties really nervous, right? so they have to -- in order to
deal with the prospect, might not even be in this particular election. the possibility that there might be a bunch of outside money that comes in, they worry about it, maybe this makes them more be holden to the contributors, maybe it makes them more be holden to voters. maybe they have to make sure they can get the voters on their side. it makes them spend more time worrying about their situation and what they can do to make election more likely. >> with that, we'll conclude this panel. i want to remind people in the room and people viewing on c-span that you can get more information from our organizations at the center for competitive politics. it's campaignfreedom.org. and for the cato institute, it's cato.org. we'll take a break for about ten minutes and reconvene for our last panel.
interviewer david savidge of the l.a. times will join us. thank you. on the next washington journal, david yepsen previews the presidential campaigns heading into the final weekend for the iowa caucuses. republican iowa state senator brad zaun discusses his endorsement of donald trump. his efforts to get supporters to caucus. and bob vander plots, supporter of presidential candidate ted cruz looks at the role of social conservatives in the 2016 campaign. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal, live at 7:00
a.m. eastern on c-span. sunday night on q & a, scott christiansen provides his thoughts on the greatest impact on the world. from the magg in a car ta and the declaration of independence. to martin luther king jr.'s i have a dream speech. >> there's a lot of criticism of snowden. but there's also a very strong feeling that he's an american hero. and he's viewed as such around the world. it does really cause people to question who controls documents who owns documents, what's the power of documents. what are these things really about that the government is collecting. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q & a. >> the weekend prior to the caucuses, there will be a frenzy of activity across iowa.
there are so many candidates on the republican side. three viable candidates on the democratic side, and they will have each of them three, four, five, six events a day. what we're going to be looking for are those events that give us a sense -- keep in mind what's key, is organization, you need to make sure that those people who support you get to the caucuses, it's going to be interesting to see how the candidates are trying to close the deal, sell their message and convince those people who might still be on the fence to go for candidate a or b. what you'll see is is essentially wall to wall coverage on c-span as these candidates make their final pitches. >> c-span this weekend. live coverage of the presidential candidates in iowa. the fda center nor drug evaluation and research director testified on capitol hill today on the accessibility of generic drugs. woodcock talked about the fda's
efforts to reduce the backlog of drug applications to get new generic medications to market quicker. this meeting of the senate's health education labor and pensions committee is about 1:40. >> the committee on health education labor and pension please come to order. senator murray and i will have an opening statement, then we'll introduce our panel, and after a witness testimony we'll each have five minutes of questions. in december, president obama signed into law the every student succeeds act, which proves our committee can work on difficult issues successfully. but a law that is not properly implemented isn't worth the paper it's written on, which is why we're going to have strong oversite on that law and why we're having this hearing today. we're here to conduct