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The role of soft money, independent, and coordinated expenditures in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives [electronic resource] /

by Spiker, Kevin R.

Abstract (Summary)
The Role of Soft Money, Independent, and Coordinated Expenditures in Elections for the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin R. Spiker The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the use and utility of soft money, independent, and coordinated expenditures in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. While much is known about the effect of hard contributions on political campaigns, very little attention has been given to the role of soft money in congressional elections. Soft money contributions are donated to political parties at the federal level and these funds are ultimately transferred to state political parties to be used for “party building” activities. Given that prior to 2002, there were no limits on the amount of soft money that federal parties could transfer to their state counterparts, soft money became an increasingly necessary and important part of election financing for federal and state political parties. Given the lack of quantifiable data, a series of face-to-face interviews with federal and state party leaders were conduced in 2002. The interview schedule was organized around several areas of concern: state party communications with federal parties, state party communications with candidates, general spending strategies, and opinions on the utility of soft money. Such an analysis allows for a better understanding of what types of “party building” activities state parties used soft money contributions for, and provide a better understanding as to what utility these funds were viewed. The results also shed some light onto the relationship between federal and state parties, and state parties and congressional candidates. The results of the dissertation demonstrate the changing nature of congressional elections whenever soft money, independent, and coordinated expenditures are involved. While political scientists have suggested that congressional elections are candidate-centered, it is shown by this dissertation that soft money, independent, and coordinated expenditures by the political parties tilt the nature of congressional elections to a more party-centered system. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that soft money puts the federal parties at an advantage over their state counterparts, suggesting that state parties depend on the large federal parties for day-to-day survival.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:West Virginia University

School Location:USA - West Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:united states congress house campaign funds elections

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