How Single-Candidate Super PACs Changed the Game and How to Change it Back: Adopting a Presumption of Coordination and Fixing the FEC’s Gridlock
A series of Supreme Court decisions chipping away at campaign finance regulations, particularly the regulation of expenditure-only groups, has resulted in a proliferation of single-candidate Super PACs. While purportedly independent of the candidate, in reality, single-candidate Super PACs operate as an extension of the candidate’s own campaign team. This note argues that single-candidate Super PACs, now operating as fundamental extensions of candidates’ campaigns, pose quid pro quo corruption risks by acting as surrogates for donors who have maxed out on contributions made directly to a candidate. This note will prove that curbing the proliferation of candidate Super PAC coordination, and ultimately preventing corruption or the appearance thereof, requires the imposition of a burden of proof on either the candidate or Super PAC to prove an absence of coordination after the FEC has established that certain conditions have been met. Furthermore, Congress should tweak the FEC’s enforcement structure by modeling it after California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), an organization widely regarded as effectively curbing campaign finance violations and preventing partisan gridlock, to improve enforcement. Stricter regulations and more effective enforcement will result in increased deterrence, resulting in less coordination and heightened faith in the democratic system.
Sarah E. Adams,
How Single-Candidate Super PACs Changed the Game and How to Change it Back: Adopting a Presumption of Coordination and Fixing the FEC’s Gridlock,
85 Brook. L. Rev.
Available at: https://brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/blr/vol85/iss3/6