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Elections and Voting
Guide: Campaign Financing

These resources highlight how campaign financing works in the U.S. political system. Use this selection of resources to enhance students' understanding of how campaign financing influences political campaigns and elections as well as how problems raised by campaign financing activities can be addressed. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • A government's structure determines how political parties will form and operate
  • Political parties strongly influence the operation of democratic governments
  • Media, public opinion, and policy are interrelated in a democracy
  • The type of media a public consumes influences their understanding of policy and government action
  • Interest groups can be both an effective citizen tool for expression and, if too powerful, a threat to democracy
  • Voting rules and regulations affect election outcomes
  • Interpreting campaign contributions as free speech allows those with money greater access to lawmakers

Key Questions

  • Identify three ways in which American history has shaped campaign finance rules in the United States.
  • Why has political spending increased dramatically over the last 25 years? What are the implications of this for American democracy?


  1. Overview: Campaign Financing
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Role of Parties
  6. Lesson: 2-Interest Groups, PACs, and Super PACs
  7. Lesson: 3-Presidential vs. Congressional Costs
  8. Lesson: Closing
  9. Photos & Illustrations: McCain, John, and Russell Feingold: on campaign finance reform
  10. Photos & Illustrations: Obama, Barack: 2008 campaign donation website
  11. Reference Articles: 527 Groups
  12. Reference Articles: Federal Election Campaign Act
  13. Reference Articles: Presidential Election Campaign Fund
  14. Reference Articles: Political Campaign Advertising
  15. Reference Articles: Internet Fund-Raising
  16. Reference Articles: Federal Election Commission
  17. Reference Articles: Political Action Committees (PACs)
  18. Reference Articles: Political Campaigns
  19. Political, Government & Court Documents: McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003)
  20. Political, Government & Court Documents: Political Ads: Issue Advocacy or Campaign Activity? (CRS, 2012)
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002)
  22. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federal Election Campaign Act (1971)

MLA Citation

"Campaign Financing." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156110. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156110

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