Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people.

Democracy Fund
Research & Events

Assessing the Impact of the People’s Pledge Through Research

The People’s Pledge is unique candidate driven tool that seeks to remove the influence of outside money on elections. This grant explores the implications and effectiveness of the Pledge.

About the Project

The People’s Pledge is an agreement between candidates to reject outside advertisements on their behalf. The terms of a pledge are negotiated on a race-by-race basis and differ in the comprehensiveness of expenditure types covered, such as radio and television ads, internet expenditures, and direct mail. Typically, the candidates agree to pay a financial penalty if outside groups spend money to praise them or attack their opponents, which in past cases were donations to a charity of their opponent’s choice. If taken, the People’s Pledge has proven to be highly effective in reducing outside spending by super PACs and 501(c)4/(c)6 groups. For example, it reduced such spending by 93% in the 2012 Scott Brown v. Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race, as compared to other highly contested 2012 Senate races. The People’s Pledge has proven to be an effective bipartisan tool to empower candidates in both parties to campaign against outside spending.

The final report can be found here.