Richard L. Hasen has written Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections (Yale University Press, 2016). Hasen is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.
In the midst of the most expensive presidential contest in U.S. history, is money buying access and influence? Are super PACs corrupting the democratic process? Or are eager supporter simply exercising their First Amendment rights? In Plutocrats United, Hasen argues that these may be the wrong questions and the long-standing debate between corruption and free speech – so long a part of constitutional discussions of the issues – is in need of an overhaul. Instead, he suggests that a renewed focus on political equality could reshape the way the country and the Supreme Court considered the role of money in politics. Hasen makes specific policy recommendations for what a new campaign finance regime might look like, and why this new approach would advance the democracy as well as the principle of political equality.