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Susan E. Scarrow, "Explaining Political Finance Reforms: Competition and Context," Party Politics, 10 (November, 2004), 653-675.

First Paragraph:
Political finance is one of the most troublesome regulatory areas for electoral democracies, not only because it raises questions of how to ensure minimal political equality when wealth is unequally distributed, but also because it raises the age-old question of 'who guards the guardians?' - in other words, can elected officials be trusted to regulate in an area that so fundamentally touches on their own interests? This article explores what happens when such questions are raised, and asks whether we can generalize about the kinds of solutions that countries adopt. Certainly, political finance scandals seem to unleash similar calls for reform. In some cases, new regulations are indeed enacted in the wake of these affairs. But is it possible to generalize further - do some circumstances make it more likely that certain types of reforms will not only be proposed, but actually adopted?

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Political finance goals: predictions generated by different interest definitions
Appendix 1. The state of party finance laws in Germany

Last Paragraph:
One of the assertions at the beginning of this investigation was that an understanding of party motivations might make it easier to recognize the circumstances which make it most likely that legislatures will adopt rules on party finance which seem to contravene the financial interests of the leading parties. The examples discussed above suggest that, whatever the predispositions of the parties involved, they may be pushed to regulate more than they otherwise would by non-party bodies which have a role in the regulatory process. Even where there is willingness to compete over these issues, parties may be most likely to adopt self-denying rules if these are suggested or even imposed by forces outside the legislature ('independent commissions' appointed by governments, courts, etc.). The message for would-be reformers is that the circumstances that spark political reform do matter, but they may have a more or less lasting impact depending on how the parties define their interests, and on what other forces get involved in the debate.