Money in Politics

There is a growing disconnect between average citizens and elected officials. Part of the blame lies with a campaign finance system that unfairly stacks the deck in favor of the few Americans able to give exceptionally large contributions. Citizens United and other court rulings have obliterated decades of commonsense campaign finance laws. Now a handful of wealthy special interests dominate political funding, often through super PACs and shadowy nonprofits that conceal donors’ identities from the public.

The Brennan Center is a leading intellectual force in developing policies that ensure everyone has a real chance to have their voice heard. We craft and fight for solutions that can bring balance to campaign funding and break down barriers that keep everyday Americans from participating in politics.

First, we seek to advance a new system of small donor public financing for federal and state elections. This would provide multiple matching funds for small gifts and give ordinary voters a far stronger voice in choosing our leaders.

Second, we work to improve disclosure laws so that the sources of political money are known. Transparency is necessary to empower voters to hold elected officials accountable.

We also seek a new legal context for money in politics: a long-term drive to overturn Citizens United and other misguided decisions, so that the Constitution is once again read as a charter for a self-governing democracy that includes all Americans.

Our research documents the dangers of big money in politics and informs our work to craft effective solutions. We work with policy makers and activists to help draft and enact legislation, defend campaign finance laws in court, and promote innovative policy solutions nationwide.

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