Note: This list is not “required” readings; rather it includes carefully chosen readings to choose from to inform members and for League discussion groups.

  • Issue Papers — Series of short papers on important aspects of MIP (Links to papers and other education resources will be added as they are made available.)  

Definitions of Money in Politics Terms

Introduction and Overview

History of US Campaign Finance Regulation

What the First Amendment Says

Regulation of Money in Politics: Pros and Cons

Shifts in Supreme Court Opinion about MIP

Role of the Supreme Court in Interpreting the Constitution

Corruption and Rationales for Regulating Campaign Finance

Modes of Campaign Finance

Hard, Soft and Dark Money

Independent Expenditures

Groups That Engage in Federal Campaign Activity and Key Rules

Impact of Spending on Electoral and Legislative Outcomes

Enforcement of Campaign Finance Rules

Options to Reform Money in Politics

Campaign Finance Activity and Reform in the States




The Money in Politics (MIP) Review and Update Committee is providing ready-to-use resources and strategies to help understand the current system of campaign finance regulation. These materials, which we call “Meetings-in-a-Box,” are available online and are designed for Leagues to use for member and community events. They are intended to engage members and the general citizenry on MIP issues as they are evidenced nationally and in states and communities. In addition, they will help prepare members for the LWVUS update of its campaign finance position. This update of the League’s position on campaign finance will get member understanding and agreement on the extent to which the League thinks that financing a political campaign is protected speech under the First Amendment.

We know that members and Leagues have multiple demands on their time and resources.  The Committee hopes these materials and suggestions will be helpful as you organize your League year. The Committee strives to provide current information in a rapidly changing environment. But we urge users of this information to keep “breaking news” coverage in mind. If you have questions, please contact Barbara Zia at



The Committee will provide educational materials and activities to inform members and citizenry about complex issues around money in politics. The Committee will conduct an update of the League’s position on campaign finance for the purpose of addressing the lack of member understanding and agreement on the extent to which political campaigns are protected speech under the First Amendment. The campaign finance position will be updated through a study and consensus process to consider:

  • The rights of individuals and organizations, under the First Amendment, to express their political views through independent expenditures and the finance of election campaign activities; and
  • How those rights, if any, should be protected and reconciled with the interests set out in the current position.

The committee will identify study materials, prepare a substantive leaders guide and consensus questions for board approval on a timeline approved by the Board.



Make Money in Politics a theme for the year. Organize educational events using readings, speaker ideas, PowerPoint presentation, culminating in a consensus meeting where your members discuss and reach agreement on consensus questions.

Form local League Money in Politics Committee to coordinate activities. Consider inviting non-League experts on campaign finance issues to serve on the committee.

Promote your activities with newsletter/media article samples. These article templates will be posted at and can be localized for your events. 

Choose a book from the reading list and hold a discussion. Review one or more of the readings in your League newsletter.

Encourage participation in the LWVUS Money in Politics Google Group. Subscribe at!forum/lwv-money-in-politics.

Post links to issue papers ( and other information in your newsletter, website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Hold informational meetings for members and the general public. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Use the PowerPoint presentation and issue papers as basic building blocks for activities.
  • Start with a "pop" quiz –See what people know about campaign finance. Discuss the responses.
  • Invite speaker(s) or a panel.  Possible sources for presenters include: your state LWV; faculty from local colleges and universities, such as political science departments or law school; your state’s chief election administrator; state and local government ethics officials; journalists.
  • For a panel, represent opposing views on limiting money in politics. Political science and constitutional scholars disagree among themselves on the issue. And your state ACLU may provide someone to present the ACLU position (ACLU filed an amicus brief on the side of the plaintiffs in Citizens United and McCutcheon)
  • Invite speakers to address how campaign finance is regulated and enforced in your state.
  • Video record and post on your website and social media, and/or share on local cable access TV.
  • Invite non-League groups to attend. Examples include: Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations, Rotary, Lions, Masons, Kiwanis, AAUW, faith groups, parent organizations, higher education classes and faculty, and middle and senior high school social studies classes and faculty.
  • See below for possible meeting outlines.*

Use the Activity in the States template to understand money in politics regulations and enforcement in your state or community. Report the information gathered to your members and general citizenry via meetings, newsletters, and social media.

Participate in the Money in Politics member study and consensus. Consensus materials will be available in mid-October 2015. Hold a consensus meeting and report results to LWVUS by February 1, 2016.

Provide LWV information table where attendees can join the LWV and sign an email list.



For a one-hour meeting

Show the PowerPoint presentation with script – Approximately 40-45 minutes.

Discussion time with prepared and audience questions.

For a two-hour meeting

Show the PowerPoint presentation with script – Approximately 40-45 minutes.

Panel discussions with experts (who have reviewed the power point and discussion questions). Let panelists react to the PowerPoint in their own way and respond to prepared and audience questions.



  • Summer 2015—MIP Review Committee will share education resources with local and state Leagues via LWVUS website (, weekly online League Update, Money in Politics Member Discussion Forum, and email.
  • October 2015—Local and state Leagues will receive consensus materials (questions and leaders guide).
  • February 1, 2016—Deadline for online report on consensus meeting results by local and state Leagues.
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