Plutocrats United: The Book Tour and Talks (UPDATED)

My new book, Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections, is now out (Order with discount at Amazon). (Reviews so far: Washington Post, Huffington Post, Washington Monthly.)  Tom Edsall called it “Heroin for political addicts.”

I will be presenting the book at a number of venues and events over the next few months.  Some of the information is tentative, and I will periodically update this post, and bump it to the top, with new and updated information. Here is the information so far.

January 12, Los Angeles, Zocalo Public Square, 7:30 pm (details and RSVP)

January 21, New York City, Brennan Center for Justice/NYU (6 pm event) (details and RSVP) (there is also a lunch-time invitation only workshop at the Brennan Center with Yasmin Dawood, Janai Nelson, and Nick Stephanopoulos)

February 8, Irvine, CA, University of California, Irvine (with Erwin Chemerinsky) (4 pm event) (details and RSVP)

Feburary 10, Los Angeles, Southwestern Law School (with Steve Simpson) (lunchtime event) (details)

February 18, Philadelphia, PA, National Constitution Center (with Ned Foley and Michael Gerhardt) (12 pm event) (details and rsvp)

February 18, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Law School (4:30 pm event) (details)

February 19, Boston/Cambridge, Harvard Law School (lunchtime event) (details)

February 19, Cambridge, Scholars Strategy Network (detailsSeats limited. RSVP to

February 26, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Law School (First Amendment symposium) (details and rsvp)

February 29, Decatur, Ga, Georgia Center for the Book at DeKalb County Public Library, 7:15 pm (details)

March 1, Miami, University of Miami (12:30 pm event; details)

March 16, Berkeley, CA, University of California, at Berkeley, 3:30 pm (with Tom Mann and Bertrall Ross) (details)

March 31, Winter Park, FL, Rollins College, 7 pm (details)

April 15, Boulder, CO, University of Colorado, Boulder (symposium on campaign finance) (details)

May 5, Washington, DC, Campaign Legal Center/UCDC Law/ACS (with Trevor Potter) (to be held at UCDC; details to come) (rescheduled from an earlier date)

I hope to see many ELB readers at these events!

Here is a description of the book:

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.

And here are the early blurbs:

“A masterful blend of legal reasoning and political analysis, Hasen’s new book is the most thorough, nuanced, and compelling treatment I have read of how money in elections reduces political equality and thereby diminishes American democracy. He unabashedly proposes a reform strategy that goes to the heart of the problem.”—Thomas E. Mann, co-author of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks

Plutocrats United will mark Hasen certainly as the dean of this field.” —Lawrence Lessig, author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It

“There is no better analyst or interpreter of America’s campaign finance laws and regime then Rick Hasen. Plutocrats United is Hasen at his finest: a cogent, reasoned critique of what the Supreme Court has and has not done to shape money and American politics, and a roadmap to a better system if and when there is a Court willing to respond to reason.”—Norman Ornstein, co-author, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism

“Rick Hasen is the foremost scholar working today to make the case for a robust conception of political equality in thinking about the regulation of campaign finance. In this new book he displays all of his well-recognized skills and deep learning. It is clear and readable, both scholarly and accessible, and it will be highly influential in academic and policy development communities , and in the courts. There is no more authoritative source for anyone who seeks a thorough treatment of all the reasons one might care about equality in this era of mega-donors and Super PACs.”–Bob Bauer, former White House Counsel and Professor of Practice, New York University School of Law

“While others complain about the corruption of money in politics, Rick Hasen, America’s leading expert on the electoral process, offers smart, innovative solutions. This book is a “must-read” for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America’s profound political inequality — and wants to do something about it.”—Adam Winkler, UCLA School of Law

Plutocrats United should become the go-to volume for anyone wanting to understand the role of money in American politics: how we got to where we are today, and a realistic assessment of the chances for improving the current situation. Hasen deftly interweaves fine-grained details with a lucid big-picture perspective. Even more impressively, he eschews simplistic solutions, recognizing that regulatory line-drawing in this area necessarily will involve a careful balancing of competing constitutional values.”–Edward B. Foley, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University


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