The American Democracy Project and it’s Political Engagement Project are partnering with the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy (Ill.) to give ADP faculty and students the opportunity to participate in a conversation about money and politics via a live-streamed event, free of charge. This March 29, 2012 event will be a moderated conversation with former Senator Russ Feingold (D) and Trevor Potter (who worked with the McCain Presidential campaign). ADPers will have the opportunity to Tweet questions to the speakers (more information, including the Twitter handle and hashtag to use, will be forthcoming). I encourage campus ADP groups to organize collective viewings of this presentation and to organize their own discussions afterward.
— Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project
The Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics
with Senator Russ Feingold and Trevor Potter
Moderated by Elizabeth Brackett
Thursday, March 29, 2012 | 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Central)
The event above will streamed live from The University Club of Chicago here:
The escalating monies collected to promote or denounce issues, and the funding of political campaigns, are an increasingly corrupting influence in the creation of public policies which benefit the nation as a whole. The early months of this year’s presidential campaign have seen an unparalleled infusion of money into the campaigns as a result of the 2011 Supreme Court Decision that overturned the reforms Feingold and Senator John McCain championed in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law. The discussion will cover the scope of the problem, its significant impacts on current campaigns, and efforts that might be encouraged to rein in the problems of runaway funding.
About the Speakers:
Russell D. Feingold was a Democratic senator from Wisconsin for 18 years (1993 -2011). He served on the Judiciary, Foreign Relations, Budget, and Intelligence Committees. He also served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1983 to 1993. Well known for leading the fight for campaign finance reform in the Senate alongside Senator John McCain, Russ has always championed efforts to limit the influence of special interests. On February 17, 2011, Feingold announced he had formed a grassroots Political Action Committee, Progressives United, a movement intended, among other things, to fight the controversial United States Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC. Russ is also the author of the forthcoming book, “While America Sleeps,” about what America has done wrong both domestically and abroad since the terrorist attacks of September 11, and what steps must be taken to ensure that the next ten years are focused on the international problems that threaten America and its citizens.
Trevor Potter is a lawyer, former commissioner (1991–1995) and chairman (1994) of the United States Federal Election Commission. He is the founder, President, and General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, DC based nonprofit focused on campaign finance issues in the courts and before the FEC. Potter served as General Counsel to the 2000 and 2008 Presidential campaigns of John McCain. He is also notable for appearing on the television program The Colbert Report, where he discussed political action committees, and the founding and progress of the Colbert Super PAC and 501C-4. Potter explained to Colbert’s audience the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision made by the United States Supreme Court that allowed the creation of “Super PACs”, and was the lawyer behind the creation and functioning of Stephen Colbert’s PAC, “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow”.
Elizabeth Brackett is a Chicago-based correspondent and host for WTTW-TV’s Chicago Tonight program, a correspondent for PBS’ The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and an author. Her journalism has been awarded a Peabody Award and an Emmy.
About the Stevenson Center:
The international Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy is a newly organized non-profit which seeks to enhance the global understanding and practice of democracy. It brings veterans and practitioners of politics together with scholars to seek information and ideas from history and the world. No ivory tower, the goal of the Center is to address challenges to democratic systems of government and conceive practical solutions that make governments more accountable. Non-partisan and non-ideological, its integrity enables it to challenge conventional wisdom with inconvenient truths when necessary, in keeping with the legacy of Adlai E. Stevenson II.
The Center is located at Stevenson’s former home near Libertyville, Illinois, restored with a grant from the State of Illinois and now a property of the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Participants in its activities come from research and policy organizations as well as from the world of politics, journalism and other fields, thus representing a broad spectrum of expertise and practical experience. The non-partisan Center strives to influence opinion and the political process through public education, the media and other means. It aims to bring practitioners from on the ground and throughout the world together with policy analysts and researchers, bridging the gap between theory and practice, ideas and action. Its international perspective and operation offer a unique contribution.
For more information about the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy (Ill.), go here.
About ADP’s Political Engagement Project:
The Political Engagement Project has the goal of developing a sense of political efficacy and responsibility on the part of undergraduates as well as a set of political skills that students will need as they engage with the political world. To do this, PEP campuses have infused political education and engagement tactics into a variety of disciplines and courses on campus and have made the tenants of political engagement central to the institutional framework of their campuses. The project documents the goals and pedagogies of the participating courses and programs, students’ perspectives on their experiences in the program, and the impact of these experiences on key dimensions of political development such as knowledge and understanding, active involvement, sense of political efficacy and identity, and skills of democratic participation.
For more information about ADP’s Political Engagement Project, go here.