Writing Reform: A Guide to Drafting State & Local Campaign Finance Laws (2010 Revised Edition)

December 9, 2010

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law has designed this manual for people who want to draft campaign finance reform legislation that is both appropriate for their community and sensitive to constitutional concerns. Because different laws may be appropriate in different states and localities, the handbook will not tell you what provisions to include in legislation you draft. In our view, people with ties to communities interested in reform are in the best position to determine what legislation is needed and achievable. We therefore do not provide model laws here, but we do identify organizations that can provide such models.

Rather than providing a blueprint for reform, we offer practical suggestions and legal analysis that will assist reformers in selecting and drafting appropriate campaign finance provisions. The handbook certainly should help drafters who wish to maximize the potential for avoiding a lawsuit or succeeding in court if their legislation is challenged, so that campaign finance reform can be implemented expeditiously. The manual also should be of use to activists who aim to push the envelope of permissible reform by drafting statutes or initiatives that can serve as the basis for test cases. Both groups of drafters must understand the state of current law to accomplish their purpose.

Written by Brennan Center attorneys who have litigated campaign finance cases in federal and state courts throughout the nation, Writing Reform offers both practical tips and legal analysis for drafters of campaign finance reform bills or initiatives—those who want to stay within current constitutional constraints and those who want to test those limits.

Download the Report (PDF)