Student Research: Campaign Finance, Then and Now

davidsteuryIt was a 2010 Supreme Court case that inspired David Steury ’15, a double major in government and legal studies and economics, to explore how campaign spending is regulated.

Now he’s focusing on a landmark case that was decided just this past spring: in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down a law limiting the total amount of money that individuals can donate to candidates and parties.

Just how will this ruling affect campaign finance? In an honors project with government professor Michael Franz, Steury will use the information from the 2014 campaigns to compare individual donations before and after McCutcheon v. FEC, to determine whether the previously imposed limits are surpassed.

As part of his research, he is analyzing the political climate surrounding other prominent court rulings in the past, using news articles dating back to the 1880s. Working alongside Steury with Professor Franz are other students who are using social media and television advertisements to dissect the dynamics of political campaigns.

Steury is excited to be among the vanguard of political scientists analyzing this recent case and its effect on campaign finance, research that became possible only this month after the country concluded its first election cycle since the ruling. In the future, Steury hopes to join the private sector in consulting within the realm of government work.

Read more about Franz’s research. 

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