Campaign Finance Institute

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The Campaign Finance Institute, affiliated with George Washington University, is a non-partisan, non-profit institute that conducts research and education, empanels task forces and makes recommendations for policy change in the field of campaign finance in the United States.

Leadership and staff[edit]

Michael J. Malbin, Executive Director[edit]

Michael Malbin is a founder and the Executive Director of the Campaign Finance Institute. He is also a Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Albany. One of the country's leading scholars in this field, Malbin has been writing extensively about money and politics for more than three decades. Some of his co-authored books include: The Election After Reform: Money, Politics and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act; The Day After Reform: Sobering Campaign Finance Lessons from the American States and Vital Statistics on Congress. He has also been a reporter for National Journal, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, Associate Director of the House Republican Conference, Speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense, and a member of the National Humanities Council.

Steve Weissman, Associate Director for Policy[edit]

Before joining CFI, Steve Weissman spent four and half years as a Legislative Representative at Public Citizen. He has taught at Fordham University, University of Texas at Dallas and Howard University. He spent 12 years at the House of Representatives Foreign Affair's Committee's Subcommittee on Africa and was Staff Director for five years. Now at CFI, Mr. Weissman does extensive research on Electronic Disclosure in the Senate, Bundling, and 527s and various 501 (c)s.

Wesley Joe, Research Scholar/ Policy Analyst[edit]

Wesley Joe has published several articles and book chapters on major individual contributors to Congressional Campaigns, the efficacy of campaign finance regulations and other topics. Wesley Joe has been working on the Small Donor project and donor studies.

Board of trustees[edit]

The Campaign Finance Institute also works with a number of Academic Advisors. These advisors contribute in various research projects and papers many of which can be found at

"The Campaign Finance Institute has received generous support from the Joyce Foundation, JEHT Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Stuart Family Foundation and The Smith Richardson Foundation, Inc."


Current projects at CFI include the CFI Participation Project: Strengthening Democracy Through Volunteers and Small Donors, post-Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act studies, and Soft Money in Elections. CFI Participation Project: Strengthening Democracy Through Volunteers and Small Donors,

The research being done in this project stems from a simple question.Would it not be useful to focus on strengthening participation by those who do not now give and to pursue equality through empowering those who do not usually participate as opposed to squeezing from the top? From this question has sprung the Small Donor Project and CFI's Donor Studies. The Small Donor Project looks at seven study states which are PA,OH, NY, CT, AZ,CO, IA, MN,and NV. CFI administered surveys of donors, non-donors and candidates. The initial findings were presented at the APSA Conference in August 2007. The paper that was presented focused on the preliminary results of the candidate surveys. CFI will be presenting preliminary results of the donor and non-donor surveys at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in April.

Post- Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act[edit]

CFI has been assessing the impact of the BCRA on the federal level. The research has been centered around the 2006 and now 2008 election cycles, Senate Electronic Disclosure and the growing use of 527s, 501 (c)4s and 501 (c)6s, which have come to replace much of the soft money that was lost due to BCRA restrictions.

External links[edit]