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The campaign finance crisis in America and how to fix it: A solutions summit

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As the sixth anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC approaches on January 21, both experts and ordinary citizens believe the United States is confronting a campaign finance crisis. Citizens United and related court cases have unleashed a flood of dark money that many believe could drown our democracy. It is estimated that over $5 billion will be spent on the 2016 presidential race—more than 3 times the amount spent in 2008 (already the most expensive election cycle in history). A comprehensive poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS News in the spring of 2015 showed that 84 percent of adults—including 90 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans—believe that money has too much influence in American political campaigns. Even the richest Americans agreed: 85 percent of adults making $100,000 or more share that same belief.

There has been much handwringing about this state of affairs. But there has been too little public attention paid to finding solutions. On the sixth anniversary of Citizens United, the Governance Studies program at Brookings hosted current and former government officials, lobbyists, donors, advocates, and other experts to discuss how to resolve the campaign finance crisis. They focused on innovative reform efforts at the federal, state, and local levels which offer the hope of addressing the problem of big money in politics.

Panelists will included:

Cheri Beasley, Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court
Daniel Berger, Partner, Berger & Montague, P.C.
John Bonifaz, Co-Founder and President, Free Speech for People
Norman L. Eisen, U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic (2011-2014); Special Assistant and Special Counsel to the President (2009-2011); Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Bruce Freed, Founder and President, Center for Political Accountability
Steve Israel, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY)
Roger Katz, Chair, Government Oversight Committee, Maine State Senate (R)
Allen Loughry, Justice, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Chuck Merin, Executive Vice President, Prime Policy Group; Lobbyist
Connie Morella, Ambassador to OECD (2003-2007); Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Md., 1987-2003)
Jeffrey Peck, Principal, Peck Madigan Jones; Lobbyist
Nick Penniman, Executive Director, Issue One
Trevor Potter, Commissioner, Federal Election Commission (1991-1995; Chairman,1994)
John Pudner, Executive Director, Take Back Our Republic
Ann Ravel, Commissioner, Federal Election Commission (Chairwoman, 2015)
Timothy Roemer, Ambassador to India (2009-2011); Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Ind., 1991-2003); member 9/11 Commission; Senior Strategic Advisor to Issue One
John Sarbanes, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Md.)
Claudine Schneider, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-R.I.,1981-1991)
Peter Schweizer, President, Government Accountability Institute
Zephyr Teachout, CEO, Mayday PAC
Lucas Welch, Executive Director, The Pluribus Project
Fred Wertheimer, Founder and President, Democracy 21
Tim Wirth, Member, U.S. Senate (D-Colo.,1987-1993); Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Colo.,1975-1987)
Dan Wolf, Chair, Committee on Steering and Policy, Massachusetts State Senate (D)

Click here for a full agenda.

Agenda

The campaign finance crisis in America and how to fix it: A solutions summit

On the sixth anniversary of Citizens United, the Governance Studies program hosted current and former government officials, lobbyists, donors, advocates, and other experts to discuss how to resolve the campaign finance crisis.

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