Melissa M. Smith

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    Corporations can’t afford to stop donations to candidates, even those who still support Trump.

Corporations can’t afford to stop donations to candidates, even those who still support Trump.

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After the January 6, 2021 US Capitol insurrection, many companies stopped their donations to candidates who supported President Trump and other enablers of the attack. Melissa M. Smith writes that the need for effective lobbying by these companies means that these donations were only paused. As we head into a midterm election year, and with campaign finance reform still […]

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    Michael Bloomberg won’t be president, but he has written a new chapter in using personal wealth and influence in US elections

Michael Bloomberg won’t be president, but he has written a new chapter in using personal wealth and influence in US elections

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Last week, following a poor Super Tuesday performance, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Melissa M. Smith writes that while Bloomberg has proven for now that the presidency can’t be bought by a billionaire, his plans to support former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign for the nomination does show […]

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    Why Trump could mean all change at the Federal Election Commission – if he can be bothered.

Why Trump could mean all change at the Federal Election Commission – if he can be bothered.

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Last week Ann Ravel stepped down from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), issuing a blistering report against the Commission detailing how deadlock and changes to campaign finance law have significantly decreased its effectiveness. Melissa Smith writes that, with the remaining five commissioners serving an expired term, President Trump now has the opportunity to replace them with members who prefer […]

Trump, Brexit, and the West’s “Mad as hell” moment

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With the popularity of Donald Trump, and the UK’s recent vote to leave the European Union, we live in seemingly strange political times, writes Melissa Smith. She comments that the sluggish world economy, migration crisis, and negativity towards globalism all appear to be fuelling the West’s current “Mad as hell” moment. It’s hard to stay mad forever, though, and […]

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    GOP SuperPACs didn’t give Trump money, but they did help create his juggernaut campaign.

GOP SuperPACs didn’t give Trump money, but they did help create his juggernaut campaign.

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Since the introduction of SuperPACs as a campaign tool in 2010 following the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, there has been increasing concern over the role of outside money in US political contests. Melissa Smith writes that past narratives about money’s influence have been turned on their head in the current election season, with the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald […]

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    Even as they complain about campaign finance ethics, many candidates are holding their hands out for large donations.

Even as they complain about campaign finance ethics, many candidates are holding their hands out for large donations.

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There is no doubt that contemporary politics costs money, but many have become increasingly frustrated with the amounts being raised through candidates SuperPACs, claiming that they act as vehicles for the wealthy to influence politics. Melissa M. Smith writes that while the Democratic Party has historically rejected such fundraising, the political reality of the 2016 campaign means that candidates […]

FEC dysfunction means a free-for-all in the 2016 elections

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Earlier this month, the Chair of the Federal Election Commission, Ann M. Ravel described the organization as “worse than dysfunctional”. Melissa M. Smith looks at this dysfunction as the 2016 presidential campaign unfolds.  She argues that the FEC has been largely powerless to enforce campaign finance law in the wake of 2010’s Citizens United decision, and the powerful Super […]

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