Campaign Finance Red Tape:


Twenty-four states permit citizens to make laws directly through ballot measures. These states also regulate how citizens—if they band together—may speak out about them. In the name of “disclosure,” these regulations impose complicated registration and reporting requirements, administered by state bureaucrats, on political speech and activity by any citizen group that joins the public debate over ballot issues.

This report examines the effects of the bureaucratic red tape created by disclosure regulations on ordinary citizens through a large-scale experiment with 255 participants. They were asked to complete the actual disclosure forms for California, Colorado or Missouri based on a simple scenario typical of grassroots political activity—one modeled after a real group sued for violating campaign finance disclosure laws. . . .

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