Prof. Bruce Ackerman to Address Brennan Center Jorde Symposium on "Voting With Dollars: A New Paradigm for Campaign Finance," Nov. 27
On Tuesday, November 27, Professor Bruce Ackerman will propose some of his innovative ideas for campaign finance reform in a unique forum.
Ackerman's talk will be drawn from his forthcoming book, "Voting with Dollars: A New Paradigm for Campaign Finance," which he co-authored with Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor of Law at YLS.
In "Voting with Dollars," Ackerman and Ayres propose two fundamental changes in the campaign finance system. First, they suggest, each American should receive fifty "Patriot dollars"--just as each receives an equal vote--to be donated to political campaigns of his or her choice. Ackerman points out that the money generated by this approach would overwhelm special-interest donations, without requiring any restrictions on giving.
Second, Ackerman and Ayres propose that private donations be passed through a blind trust--on analogy with the secret ballot box--so that candidates will not know who has given them money. "A secret donation booth makes it harder for candidates to sell access or influence," they write.
Both proposals grew out of what Ackerman describes as a general effort to try to adapt market systems for purposes of democracy. Furthermore, he believes that campaign finance reform is on the political agenda, because many people recognize that "there is something very wrong" with the current system.
The unique forum for Ackerman's presentation is the Brennan Center Jorde Symposium. The Jorde Symposium is actually made up of two programs with the same speaker each year. One of the two programs is always at the University of California at Berkeley, while the other migrates to different schools. This year it is at Yale Law School.
In addition, two experts will comment on Ackerman's presentations. At YLS, the commentators will be John A. Ferejohn, the Carolyn S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Richard A. Briffault, the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation and vice dean of Columbia Law School. Ayres will then offer a brief rebuttal.
When the Jorde Symposium returns to Berkeley in the spring of 2002, Pamela S. Karlans, the Kenneth & Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School, and David A. Strauss, the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law and Russell Baker Scholar at the University of Chicago, will serve as commentators.