Financing the 2016 Election

David B. Magleby
Release Date: April 30, 2019

Money and politics in an election that broke the mold

Beginning with the 1960 election, readers could turn to one book for an authoritative and comprehensive examination of campaign finance at the federal level. Now, the latest in this respected series, Financing the 2016 Election, explores the role of money in one of the most unconventional elections in modern American history. A team of leading scholars has dug into the roles played by political parties and special interest groups (including their “Super PACS”) in the presidential and congressional elections of 2016.

David Magleby and his team of experts examined Federal Elections Commission reports and interviewed dozens of key participants, including representatives of virtually all the major interest groups active in the 2016 election cycle. They place that election in the context of how U.S. elections have been financed during recent decades—a context that illustrates how dramatically different campaign finance is today from the past. Among the most important changes has been the growth of so-called Super PACS, which have become increasingly important both in the financing they provide candidates and in their ability to act independently, both for and against candidates. Overall, Super PACS doubled their spending in 2016 from four years earlier.

Taking a comprehensive approach, this book helps readers understand how the financing of elections—including the increasing reliance by candidates on outside special interest groups—ultimately affects politics and public policy.

Praise for Financing the 2016 Election

“Financing the 2016 Election delivers by providing a solid context for explaining change and continuity in the campaign finance system. This book is an excellent resource for scholars and political professionals doing research on trends in financing elections, as well as undergraduates and graduate students who need to get the lay-of-the-land for how the United States finances its politics.”
—Raymond J. La Raja


David B. Magleby is a distinguished professor of political science at Brigham Young University. He has published thirteen books on campaign finance, including five in this series. He is also known for his work on direct democracy and party identification and is a coauthor of a leading text on the American government, Government by the People.