chapter  8
28 Pages

Interest Groups and Issue Advocacy in 1996

The activities of candidates, parties, interest groups, and wealthy individuals led many to draw the same conclusion as Fred Wertheimer that the 1996 election season was the “dirtiest ever” (Wertheimer 1996, Cl). This chapter is an examination of the campaign finance activities of interest groups1 during the 1996 elections, and how a variety of groups managed to bend the campaign finance laws without actually breaking them. Indeed, much of this activity fell outside the campaign finance regulatory system and therefore was unlimited and shielded from public scrutiny. These activities may impact American represen­ tative democracy negatively by removing responsibility for campaign conduct from candidates, the only political actors who can be held accountable on election day.