Kristie Kelly: Election Law Journal

Kristie Kelly has published an article in Election Law Journal

Title: Political Quid Pro Quo and the Impact of Perceptions of Corruption on Democratic Behavior

Abstract: Since its 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court has voiced concern with corruption and the appearance of corruption stemming from political quid pro quo arrangements—particularly the deleterious consequences either could have on citizens’ democratic behavior. Given the vagueness in the Court’s definition of the “appearance of corruption,” campaign finance cases since Buckley have relied on survey data to measure perceptions of corruption. These data indicate high levels of perceived governmental corruption among the public but are silent on the question of whether these perceptions influence behavior. This study investigates the actual impact that perceptions of corruption have on individuals’ levels of political participation. Adapting the socioeconomic status model developed most fully by Verba and Nie (1972), I estimate extended beta-binomial regressions using maximum likelihood techniques on data from the 2009 University of Texas Money in Politics survey and the 2012 American National Election Studies Time Series survey. The results indicate that individuals who perceive higher levels of corruption participate more in politics, on average, than those who perceive lower levels of corruption. This suggests that at least a few of the assumptions underlying the Court’s rationale for upholding contribution limits in Buckley should be revisited, and that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission may not negatively impact participation as suggested by critics.