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

by Richard Hasen Yale University Press
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Pbk 256 pages
AU$32.99 NZ$36.51
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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.


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: A New American Plutocracy 1

Part One Problems

1 The Corruption Distortion 15

2 What Does Money Buy in Politics? 37

Part Two Solutions

3 The Voting Lottery 63

4 Level Up, Level Down 84

Part Three Objections

5 Censorship 107

6 The (New) Media 124

7 (Un)Intended Consequences 146

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

By Richard L. Hasen

Copyright © 2016 by Richard L. Hasen. All rights reserved.

viii c o n t e n t s

Part Four Changing the System

8 Wrong Paths 163

9 The Last Great Hope for Reform 176

Notes 191

Index 237


Richard L. Hasen is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. He lives in Studio City, CA.