BCC Series Opens with Focus on Campaign Finance Reform

Bard College professor Roger Berkowitz is present his lecture “Why Free Speech is Corrupting Politics: Paradoxes and Problems in Campaign Finance Reform” on Jan. 17

Author and educator Professor Roger Berkowitz, Associate Professor of Political Studies and Human Rights and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities at Bard College will speak about the history of campaign finance reform and legislation at Bergen Community College on Jan. 17.

This program is the first in the 2013 Distinguished Expert Series conducted by North Jersey Public Policy Network. Free and open to the public, Berkowitz's lecture will take place in the Pitkin Building Room A-113 from 7:30 to 9:30pm.

“I’m going to set up two different models of democratic governance: one based on anti-corruption and one based on free speech, and set them against each other to argue that we need to be more anti-corruption and less about free speech,”  Berkowitz said. 

According to Berkowitz, the movement to change the role of money in political campaigns was not seen as a threat to or violation of free speech throughout history. Campaign finance reform was viewed as a way to prevent corruption, and cities and states were able to restrict  financial influence from interfering with politics. This changed, especially in the 1930s when the promotion of money as free speech began to overcome money influence as corruption. 

“This program will appeal to people worried about the fate of the American democratic experiment. The challenge is up to all of us," Berkowitz said. 

While the lecture is free and open to the public, reservations are suggested due to limited seating and can be made by emailing info@northjerseypublicpolicy.org

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