Congressional Research Service. September 20, 2013.
Minor and major changes have occurred in campaign finance policy since 2002, when Congress substantially amended campaign finance law via the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and a related lower-court decision, SpeechNow.org v. FEC, arguably represent the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades. Citizens United lifted a previous ban on corporate (and union) independent expenditures advocating election or defeat of candidates. SpeechNow permitted unlimited contributions to such expenditures and facilitated the advent of super PACs. Although campaign finance policy remains the subject of intense debate and public interest, there have been few legislative or regulatory changes to respond to the 2010 court rulings. This report considers these and other developments in campaign finance policy and comments on areas of potential conflict and consensus.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41542.pdf [PDF format, 28 pages]
Congressional Research Service. May 10, 2013.
There is a consensus that the presidential public financing program is antiquated and offers insufficient benefits to attract the most competitive candidates. No major candidate accepted public funds in 2012. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama became the first person, since the public financing program’s inception, elected President without accepting any public funds. For some, these developments signal an urgent need to save the public campaign financing program that has existed since the 1970s; for others, they suggest that the program is unnecessary.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41604.pdf [PDF format, 6 pages].
Congressional Reserch Service. October 18, 2012.
This report considers contemporary developments in presidential elections. It emphasizes three topics chosen for their recurring importance and notable recent developments: (1) nominating procedures; (2) campaign finance; and (3) the electoral college. The report highlights significant developments in these areas, particularly for the 2008 and 2012 elections. It also provides background information about the presidential election process in general.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42139.pdf [PDF format. 56 pages].