There are also other channels for contributing money into congressional contests. Famous political analyst W.P. Welsh’s seminal studies on the subject continue to serve as models for analysis. One of the insights offered by Welsh’s 1982 paper titled ‘Campaign contributions and legislative voting: Milk money and dairy price supports’ is especially instructive. He posits that
“It is even conceivable that some groups would contribute to a candidate with PAC money while indirectly contributing to his or her opponent through soft-money contributions or an “issue ad.” This possibility is much more complex than the exchange theory model. A more likely scenario, however, is a group or individual will seek even more credit with legislators by contributing to both a candidate and also channeling money into the same race through an issue ad, party soft-money contribution, or independent expenditure.” (Magleby, 2008)
Looking back at statistical evidence since the publication of Welsh’s article, it has proven to be prophetic. Although, it has to be qualified that Welch could not accurately anticipate how interest groups would act in an atmosphere where there are no contribution caps. Where Welsh got it wrong in predicting that close Congressional election races would discourage contributions as a result of uncertainty of outcome. But records show hedging-like patterns that interest groups would resort to in close races. Moreover, “the largest expenditures by interest groups and political parties in settings where they were unconstrained by contribution limits have typically gone to the closest races”. (Magleby, 2008)
The dominance of money over direct democracy has increased over the years. Today money is the only certain route to ballot access. Besides, the barriers of entry have also become exorbitant, with big financial players determining outcomes. Interest groups with expertise in the traditional arena will have an edge when it comes to direct lawmaking. This is so because such groups still exert influence in the legislature through “sophisticated direct mail techniques, money, connections with professional political consultants, etc.” (Garrett, 1999) Today it is plainly understood that whichever group crosses the signature hurdle is the one with substantial financial resources. There is little to no relevance as to the importance of the issue at stake and public opinion about it. Professional firms “do not structure their approach to voters so that public deliberation is fostered or even so that signers know what issue the petition proposes to place on the ballot. They want to earn their money quickly and move on.” (Garrett, 2009)
A review of scholarly research on the subject reveals that money is the single most important factor in the signature-gathering phase of direct democracy. Needless to say, it is the agenda of the financiers which dominate the larger public good. The problem of money buying ballot access could be manifest in many ways. One of the solutions to mitigate these phenomena is by banning the use of paid solicitors. But it gets caught in legal quagmires, as the Meyer v. Grant (1979) case illustrates. So, as it stands, removing the influence of money over body polity remains a Utopian dream.