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Justin Fisher and Todd A. Eisenstadt, "Introduction: Comparative Party Finance: What is to be Done?" Party Politics, 10 (November, 2004), 619-626.

First Paragraph:
The study of party finance is underdeveloped. Unlike many areas of parties and elections, the financial aspects have tended to escape extensive academic analysis. This omission is odd since party finance matters for all sorts of reasons. The study of political finance is fundamental to the study of the workings of representative democracy. For Alexander (1989: 10-12) money is an element of political power, because it buys what is not or cannot be volunteered. Moreover, money is the most important constituent because finance also dominates the organizational and electoral aspects of political life. The importance of money in politics then is fundamental, for it affects political spending (Johnston, 1985: 256-77) and contributes to debates concerning political equality (Fisher, 1999; Oliver, 1992). A consensus exists in the US-based scholarship, and perhaps elsewhere, that while there may be a threshold beyond which the importance of fundraising diminishes, incumbent politicians cannot even hope to get elected if they do not meet minimum fundraising requirements.

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Last Paragraph:
As a result of recent regulatory changes, more comparative models are required to help us understand the paths taken by a variety of democracies. In this special issue, we seek therefore to extend the gaze of constitutional engineering to the area of party finance and analyse new theoretical and comparative discussions which can help illuminate our understanding of party finance and comparative politics more generally. We hope this issue can assist in the ongoing effort to illuminate one crucial aspect of the growing 'disaffection' (Pharr and Putnam's term) with political participation in the long-established democracies, and disenchantment being reported in more recent experiments with democracy. Clearly, party finance is but one of several critical areas of perfectability in transparent and representative government. But taken together, the articles that follow make a case - through empirical claims and their normative implications - that party finance is a good starting point for reconsidering such issues.