Purchasing Power: Money, Politics, and Inequality

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In addition to our featured conference on May 6th, ISPS is happy to announce that we are partnering with the journal Democracy for a sister event in New York City the following day, May 7th. The event will feature ISPS Director Jacob Hacker as well as several other leading thinkers on the role of money in politics.

The event will take place at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, and will be held from 12:00-2:00 pm. The address is 161 Avenue of the Americas (at Spring Street and 6th Avenue, also known as Avenue of the Americas), on the 12th Floor.  (See travel directions at bottom of this page.)

Seating is limited and registration is required.  To register or for more information, please contact Kimberly Lubrano (646-292-8342).  A full schedule of the event is below. Lunch will be served.


Everyone’s Fight: The New Plan to Defeat Big Money in Politics

Sponsored by

Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, the Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, Fund for the Republic,
and The Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Keynote Address by

Lawrence Lessig
Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

Panel Discussion featuring

Heather C. McGhee, Vice President, Policy & Outreach, Demos
Trevor Potter, General Counsel, The Campaign Legal Center
Jacob Hacker, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science, Yale University
Nick Penniman, Executive Director, Fund for the Republic
Ian Simmons, President, Foundation for Civic Leadership

Moderated by

Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice

Introductory Remarks by

Michael Tomasky, Editor, Democracy

Last year’s presidential election was the first after Citizens United and the first time neither candidate accepted any public financing. It was also the first time spending in a presidential campaign exceeded $2 billion. Spending on all federal campaigns, meanwhile, exceeded $6 billion.

But campaign spending is only the start of the Big Money problem. Thousands of lobbyists spend far more than that as they consistently warp public policy. The government-reform movement is woefully underfunded against the backdrop of groups like the Chamber of Commerce, making non-controversial measures, such as disclosure of large sums, near impossible.

What to do? The Winter 2013 Issue of Democracy hosted a symposium on big money in politics, offering solutions and urging progressives to put the issue at the center of any campaign intended to battle political corruption. This event seeks to continue and broaden that discussion.


1) Take New Haven Metro Taxi (203-777-7777) to Union Train Station, 50 Union Avenue, New Haven.

2) Take the MTA Metro-North Railroad commuter train to Grand Central Terminal in New York City.  One-way off-peak train fare is $22 if purchased onboard, $15.50 if purchased at the train station, or $14.73 if purchasing a web ticket online.  Off-peak trains leaving New Haven on the morning of May 7 depart at:

  • 8:17 a.m. arriving Grand Central Terminal at 10:01 a.m.
  • 8:50 a.m. arriving Grand Central Terminal at 10:29 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m. arriving Grand Central Terminal at 11:12 a.m.

For more information regarding fares, schedules, and online ticketing, visit the Metro-North website.

3) From Grand Central Terminal to NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice at 161Avenue of the Americas (the building is located at the corner of Spring Street and 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas):

  • Take a taxi to 161 Avenue of the Americas (easiest).
  • Subway Route 1: Take the 6 train going towards downtown and get off at the Spring Street stop.  Then walk northwest on Spring Street for about 10 minutes to the corner of Spring and 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas.
  • Subway Route 2: Take the 7 train to Times Square-42nd Street.  Then get on the E train downtown (towards World Trade Center) and get off at Spring Street.  You will be at the corner of Spring and 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas.