"Money in American Politics" Kicks Off Fall's Focus on American Democracy at Mount Holyoke College

Tuesday, September 5, 2000 - 12:00pm

For Immediate Release
September 5, 2000


Panel to Feature Washington Post Political Reporter, Maine State Senator, and the Executive Director of the ACLU, Thursday, September 28 at 7:30 PM

South Hadley, MA--As the national election heats up, it's an appropriate time to debate whether or not the American political system is a vigorous democracy where competing ideas flourish and public debate thrives. The Weissman Center for Leadership will take up this topic throughout the fall with four events, which are free and open to the public. Titled American Democracy in Crisis? Money, Politics, & Civic Participation, the campuswide series launches with a panel discussion on "Money in American Politics," Thursday September 28, at 7:30 PM in Gamble Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College.

Moderated by Dan Clawson, professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the panel discussion will feature state senator Susan Longley, Washington Post political reporter Thomas Edsall, and Ira Glasser, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Debate will center on whether campaign finance reform would promote the democratic process or unduly restrict the right of free expression. Clawson, whose research concerns the influence of money in the electoral process, is the author of Dollars and Votes: How Business Campaign Contributions Subvert Democracy and Money Talks: Corporate PACs and Political Influence.

The panel, composed of nationally recognized practitioners and experts, includes:

  • Thomas Edsall, political reporter, Washington Post. Since coming to the Post in 1981, Mr. Edsall has covered taxes, campaign finance, and, for the past 15 years, national politics. A regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and other leading publications, he is also the author of three books, including The New Politics of Inequality.
  • Ira Glasser, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Glasser has served as executive director of the ACLU since 1978. He is the author of Visions of Liberty: The Bill of Rights for All Americans.
  • Susan Longley, state senator, Maine. Ms. Longley, a 1978 graduate of Mount Holyoke, was elected last November to her third term as Maine state senator, representing the people of Waldo County. Maine was the first state to pass campaign finance reform laws.

The Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership was established in 1999 to prepare students to engage in the public arena as critical thinkers in all realms of public life, intellectual exchange, and artistic expression.