In the United States, voting is a very private act. You step into the booth alone and, for a lot of people, it’s considered taboo to tell someone who you voted for. Campaign donations, however, are a different story.
The Federal Election Commission, an independent regulatory agency established after Watergate, collects donor information from candidates, makes it available to the public, and enforces federal campaign finance laws. Anyone can go online and look up records to see who gave money to a particular candidate — to a point, anyway.
Before the end of her term as Chair of the Federal Election Commission, Caroline Hunter joined the Democracy Works podcast explore the relationship between campaign finance and democracy. Hunter served on the FEC from 2008-2018 and saw impact of the Citizens United ruling firsthand. She makes an interesting connection between PACs and political polarization — and how it all ties back to democratic participation.
Listen to the interview with Hunter on the Democracy Works podcast, produced by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State and WPSU Penn State. We could have talked all day and hope to return to some of these topics in future episodes.
New episodes of Democracy Works are released every Monday. Subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app.