Money & Politics
Description: Money threatens to overwhelm the American political system, as the "cost" of running for public office rises in each subsequent election. Add the money spent to influence the passage of legislation and the conduct of government, and you have a system awash with dollars. The 2000 elections for President and the U.S. Congress, once again, set new records, as more than $3 billion were pumped into the political system. Beyond the campaigns, millions are spend each year by companies, unions, and special interest groups to lobby and otherwise affect decision-making at all levels of government. Raising and spending money by elected officials and those who seek to influence them has become an indelible part of the American governmental process. This "mini" course examines the role money plays in both election to public office and subsequent policy-making, the current rules that govern the actions of those who want to affect governmental outcomes, and the various proposals to reform the effect of money on the political and governmental process.
Learning Outcomes: When the course concludes, the student will have heard directly from lobbyists, campaign managers, and candidates about the importance of money and the kinds of reforms that might be useful. The goal is to have each student both understand the current process and then think critically about the many proposals offered to reform the impact of money on our current system of campaign finance and policy-making.