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Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections

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From a leading expert on election law, a compelling answer to the dilemmas of campaign finance reform Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money From a leading expert on election law, a compelling answer to the dilemmas of campaign finance reform Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money flows freely on both sides. In Plutocrats United, Richard Hasen argues that both left and right avoid the key issue of the new Citizens United era: balancing political inequality with free speech.   The Supreme Court has long held that corruption and its appearance are the only reasons to constitutionally restrict campaign funds. Progressives often agree but have a much broader view of corruption. Hasen argues for a new focus and way forward: if the government is to ensure robust political debate, the Supreme Court should allow limits on money in politics to prevent those with great economic power from distorting the political process. 


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From a leading expert on election law, a compelling answer to the dilemmas of campaign finance reform Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money From a leading expert on election law, a compelling answer to the dilemmas of campaign finance reform Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money flows freely on both sides. In Plutocrats United, Richard Hasen argues that both left and right avoid the key issue of the new Citizens United era: balancing political inequality with free speech.   The Supreme Court has long held that corruption and its appearance are the only reasons to constitutionally restrict campaign funds. Progressives often agree but have a much broader view of corruption. Hasen argues for a new focus and way forward: if the government is to ensure robust political debate, the Supreme Court should allow limits on money in politics to prevent those with great economic power from distorting the political process. 

30 review for Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I enjoyed Hasen's suggestions for handling the complex world of campaign finance. Although I don't think they are incredibly plausible solutions for every state, they made for interesting conversations and were worth considering. This is certainly a book meant for those who have an elementary understanding of campaign finance, but a deep thirst to learn more about it. Hasen provides a gloss over the basic history of campaign finance, including important cases and momentous occurrences. I would I enjoyed Hasen's suggestions for handling the complex world of campaign finance. Although I don't think they are incredibly plausible solutions for every state, they made for interesting conversations and were worth considering. This is certainly a book meant for those who have an elementary understanding of campaign finance, but a deep thirst to learn more about it. Hasen provides a gloss over the basic history of campaign finance, including important cases and momentous occurrences. I would recommend to those who want to understand more about the complexities of campaign money. Otherwise, a bit drab.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reid Day

    Comprehensive campaign finance history in first third of book is worth the read alone. But maybe stop there as Hasen presents an unrealistic proposed campaign finance law & regulatory scheme. Book closed by identifying the Supreme Court as critical to shaping campaign finance law in the years to come - a somewhat obvious point with now outdated analysis after Scalia's death. Still a worthwhile purchase from the preeminent campaign finance scholar.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    This is a very interesting discussion of campaign finance law and the Supreme Court's role in creating the existing system. While I'm not convinced by the solution Hasen provides, it is an interesting proposal.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Just one more book I should have found more fascinating than I actually did.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yemo Fashola

  6. 5 out of 5

    James Strock

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cam

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rich

  9. 4 out of 5

    Will Hornbeck

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    Altho somewhat legalistic, especially in the opening chapters, this is a logical, well-written, well thought out, & comprehensible argument about the negative consequences of unlimited campaign contributions & the benefits of instituting rational curbs on same. The inadvisability or futility of various approaches - especially attempting to pass a constitutional amendment - are discussed & a voucher based, flexible legislative approach relying on the e"quality of inputs" concept is Altho somewhat legalistic, especially in the opening chapters, this is a logical, well-written, well thought out, & comprehensible argument about the negative consequences of unlimited campaign contributions & the benefits of instituting rational curbs on same. The inadvisability or futility of various approaches - especially attempting to pass a constitutional amendment - are discussed & a voucher based, flexible legislative approach relying on the e"quality of inputs" concept is espoused. While the author believes that this approach has the best & a reasonable chance of being enacted & surviving Supreme Court review in upcoming years, events since the publication of the book would seem to dim the author's optimism. In the years immediately following the court's Citizens United ruling, a number of proposals for reversing the ruling emerged many of which were criticized as leading to unintended negative consequences. It seemed at that time that some sort of expert consensus was needed. Hasen's proposals appear to be crafted with these considerations in mind. He has raised this flag; it remains to be seen if the constitutional & legislative experts will salute it & if it can gain enough support to become law.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yanni

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  14. 4 out of 5

    Derek

  15. 4 out of 5

    rory french

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kendrick Frankel

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jake Kenswil

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  19. 4 out of 5

    James Devereaux

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  23. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Widerman

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin Curtis

  26. 4 out of 5

    James

  27. 4 out of 5

    Colin Hogan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  29. 4 out of 5

    Drolvin Morcerthi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Creighton

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