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The Campaign Finance Cases: Buckley, McConnell, Citizens United, and McCutcheon, Melvin I. Urofsky

Reviewed by Eric S. Heberlig



The Campaign Finance Cases discusses the top-line campaign finance cases in its title as well as the laws at stake in these cases and numerous other campaign finance cases decided by federal district and circuit courts over the last generation. Melvin I. Urofsky details the courts’ struggles to balance practical politics, the government’s interest in preventing corruption, and the First Amendment’s free speech protections. The challenge in this endeavor is apparent in several cases in which the courts were unable to produce a majority opinion because of the divisions among judges and justices, not just over the final resolution of the case, but over the legal standards of evaluation and the legal rationales for the decisions. Urofsky integrates major critiques of the decisions by the dissenters, advocacy groups, and academics to provide a sense of the pros and cons of the decisions. Campaign finance law is often technical, but Urofsky helps readers understand the issues at stake for Congress and the courts.

Urofsky highlights criticism of Buckley v. Valeo’s distinction between campaign contributions and campaign spending. In Buckley, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed restrictions on contributions to candidates due to concerns over potential corruption, but it simultaneously prohibited re

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