Lesson Plan Menu
Democrady: Campaign Financing

1. "Congress: Representation: The Legislator as Delegate by The Virginia Assembly, The Legislator as Trustee by John F. Kennedy, and The Legislator as Politico by George Galloway," Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics by Robert DiClerico and Allan Hammock, 1989.
These three pieces delineate the arguments that legislators directly re-present their constituents versus the arguments that legislators should be trusted to do what is best for their constituents versus the arguments that legislators should act both as delegate and trustee.

2. Government By The People by Burns, Peltason, Cronin, and Magleby (18th Edition, 2000)

Chapter 1 defines the concept of democracy.
Chapter 9 discusses the origins, types, and roles of interest groups as well as the instruments interest groups use in achieving their goals.
Chapter 14 illustrates how Congress functions.

3. Magruder’s American Government by McClenaghan (1999 Edition)

Chapter 1 defines the concept of democracy
Chapter 9 discusses interest groups
Chapters 10-12 illustrate how Congress functions

4. Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics by Robert DiClerico and Allan Hammock, 1989.

Chapter 1 of this book contains two articles that evaluate the state of American democracy and Chapter 10 has three articles on theories of congressional representation.

5."Demosclerosis," The New Democrat, June/July 1994, pp. 7-12

This article details how interest groups dominate Congress to the extent that legislation that benefits the entire nation is neglected

6. "Reforming the Biggest Lobby," Insight, October 23, 1995, pp. 8-10

This article explains government agencies and interest groups work hand-in-hand to embellish themselves at the expense of general public.

7."Going to Extremes, Losing The Center", National Journal, June 18, 1994, pp. 1394-1398

In short, this article suggests that the sum of all interest groups is not the national interest, and it never will be.

8."Do Political Action Committees Undermine Democracy?" Elizabeth Drew, Politics and Money, (New York, 1983) and "The Campaign Reform Failure" Robert Samuelson, The New Republic, September 5, 1983

The piece from journalist Elizabeth Drew suggests that interested money is buying our politicians and details solutions, mainly public financing of campaigns, and the selection from Robert Samuelson suggests there is no strong proof that legislators are bought by special interests in any way that is detrimental to national interests.

9."The Capital’s Indian War, Newsweek, December 22, 1997, p. 71 and "Lobbies with wolves, U.S. News & World Report, November 10, 1997, p. 59

These two articles report on interest group influence in the administrative branch of the United States government.

10."Give pols free money, no rules," U.S. News & World Report, December 29, 1997/January 5, 1998, pp. 54-56

This piece provides interesting alternatives to the way Congress presently amasses funds to run campaigns

11."One Cheer for Soft Money," Steven Schier, The Washington Monthly, July/August 2000, pp. 21-24

This article makes a case for campaign finance reforms that will regulate but not eliminate soft money, and will thus strengthen political parties

12."Should McCain-Feingold campaign reforms pass? No: Legislation plays party favorites while it tries to scrap free speech," Robert Levy, Cato Institute

The author makes the point that political expression will suffer if McCain-Feingold-Cochran passes

13."Campaign Finance Reform, Time to Abolish the Wealth Primary?," John Bonifaz and Jamin Raskin, The Center for Voting and Democracy, 8/23/2000 http://www.fairvote.org/reports/1993/bonifaz.html

This selection makes the statement that the present system of financing political campaigns is inconsistent with democracy and calls for the public financing of campaigns

14. "Making the World Safer for Incumbents: The Consequences of McCain-Feingold-Cochran, Policy Analysis, March 14, 2001

This lengthy article details how McCain-Feingold’s elimination of soft money will not resolve the problem of interested money; in fact, it suggests that incumbents will have even safer seats, that money will be funneled through independent expenditures.

15."2000 Presidential Race: Total Raised and Spent," The Center for Responsive Politics

This chart shows the total amounts raised and spent by the major candidates in the 2000 presidential election.

16."Campaign Finance Reform," The Center For Responsive Politics, http://www.opensecrets.org/news/campaign.finance.asp

This is a general summary of the issue of campaign financing, with an excellent chart showing how much "hard" and "soft" money the Democrats and Republicans raised in election 2000.

17."Shakedown," Washington Watchdog Project, Mother Jones

This article focuses on the efforts legislators make to solicit interest group funding and shows the correlation between money and legislation.

18."Congressional Research Service, Report for Congress 97-1040: Campaign Financing: Highlights and Chronology of Current Federal Law, Joseph E. Cantor, March 8, 2000 http://www.cnie.org/nle/rsk-43.html

This is an excellent summary of existing campaign finance laws, amendments to those laws, and Supreme Court cases related to these laws

19."How The Little Guy Gets Crunched,"Donald Barlett and James Steele, Time, February 7, 2000

Barlett and Steele illustrate how big money interests’ needs are met by Congress at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

20."Health Care: Prescription Drugs," June 4, 2000

This short piece suggests that pharmaceutical interests will prevent Congress from providing prescription drug coverage under Medicare.

21. "New Friends: The American Medical Association, Democrats and the Patients’ Bill of Rights," The Center for Responsive Politics, June 18, 2001 http://www.opensecrets.org/alerts/v6/alertv6_22.asp

This brief selection suggests that the American Medical Association sinks a good deal of money into supporting legislators who support AMA goals.

22."Soft Money Contributions From Special Interests Are Being Channeled Through State Parties", March 19, 2000.

This article suggests a need to eliminate soft money.

23."Dear Senator," March 20, 2001

This is the American Civil Liberties Union position on McCain-Feingold, essentially opposing it because of the bill’s "suppression of free speech."

24."Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Frank Capra, 1939

This Frank Capra film is a fictionalized account of the power of interested money in the United States Senate.

Essential Question & Unit
Student Activities I
Student Activities II
Student Activities II
Concluding Assignment
Teacher Commentary


Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
Democracy and Campaign Financing in the United States

Subject: History
Grade Level: 12th
Lesson Plan Author:
Maryann Wolfe