Corporate Power, Elections and Political Democracy: Do We Need a Wall of Separation?

A forum at the Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, DCOctober 25, 2006

Dr. Jared Ball speaks as John Samples, Prof. Jamie Raskin and Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap listen

Co-sponsored
by the Green Institute and the Law and Government Program at the
Washington College of Law, this panel discussion looked at issues of
the corporate influence on elections in the United States.

Sopoci-Belknap,
Director of Democracy Unlimited Humboldt County, and campaign manager
for Measure T, a succesful county-wide initiative which limited
corporate rights and influence on elections, described the history and
concept of corporate rights and how they undermine democratic rule of
the people.

Samples, a fellow at the Cato Institute, and author of the Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform,
cited numerous studies and statistics to demonstrate that the influence
of campaign contributions and corporations and their PACs, is greatly
exaggerated. He also cited some passages in the Federalist Paper #10 in
claiming that, as a republic and not a democracy, direct rule by the
people was not the goal of the constitution.

Dr.
Ball responded to Samples interpretations of the Federalist Papers with
differeing interpretations, as well as citations from the Federalist
#2. Ball also addressed issues of race and class in the lack of democracy in the United States.

Professor Raskin, who directs the Law and Government Program, and is the author of a book called The Wealth Primary,
countered some of Samples claims regarding the impact of campaign
donations and the history of lobbying and its impact, by corporations.

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