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Big Money vs. Us

56 minutes

What does it mean when you hear someone say “we need to get big money out of politics?” The term “big money” refers to large campaign contributions from corporations and wealthy donors. The donors make these contributions to influence candidates and the political process.

You may think there are more important issues to focus on such as climate change, voting rights or housing affordability. Yet, there is a direct link between who funds political campaigns and the policies and laws that do or don’t result in government action.

7:23 - Lawrence Norden is Deputy Director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program. He works on a variety of issues including money in politics, voting and government dysfunction. He joined us to discuss Brennan Center's work on campaign finance reform and public financing of elections.
Watch Lawrence share his First Civic Action
28:23 - L. Joy, June and Lurie are joined by Amshula Jayaram and Sal Albanese to further discuss various methods of public financing of elections.

Amshula Jayaram is a Senior Campaign Strategist at Demos, a dynamic “think-and-do-tank” that champions ways to address deep-seated inequity in our political and economic systems and puts communities of color at the center She focuses on advancing democracy reforms and supporting policies that advance racial equity. She recently testified before the New York State Senate on this issue.

Sal Albanese, who joined us on a previous episode, is back to weigh in on this topic, specifically offering an alternative to public financing in the form of "Democracy Vouchers". Sal is currently serving on the New York City Charter Revision Commission and heard about this alternative which he is now a proponent of.
Reading List
Learn more about "big money", campaign finance reform and public financing of elections with this reading list.

Dark Money – PBS
Donor Diversity Through Public Matching Funds – Brennan Center for Justice
Big Money in the Charm City - Demos
More Cities Want to Embrace ‘Democracy Vouchers’ – CityLab
Definitions For Money In Politics Terms – League of Women Voters
Whose Voice, Whose Choice? The Distorting Influence of the Political Donor Class in Our Big-Money Elections – Demos
Overview of State Laws on Public Financing – National Conference of State Legislatures
Is campaign finance an issue of gender and racial equity? - City of State New York
Exonerated Man Who Spent Years in Prison in NY Calls for Public Financing of Elections - New York Law Journal

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