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Money and Politics

  • The Sockman Lounge at The Interchurch Center 61 Claremont Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)
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The nearly yearlong Challenges and Opportunities in 2020 Election Series is a forum for academics, journalists, and others to comment on the issues at stake in the 2020 presidential election, and related topics front and center in American politics and society. The series fosters interdisciplinary conversations that explore undercurrents and themes affecting the upcoming election and the integrity of—and trust in—our democratic institutions.

This panel discussion is free and open to the public. Registration required.

Organizations from the nonprofit community will also have tables at the event to help attendees learn more about ways to get involved.

ANDREA BERNSTEIN is a Peabody and duPont-Columbia award–winning journalist and Co-Host of the Trump, Inc. Podcast. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling-book American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power (Norton, January 2020).  A long-time and regular contributor to NPR, she has covered six national elections including the 2016 election, and her beats have included government, politics, transportation, environment, housing, and policing.

RICHARD BRIFFAULT is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School. His research, writing, and teaching focus on state and local government law, legislation, the law of the political process, government ethics, and property. He has written more than 75 law review articles and is author of “Dollars and Democracy: A Blueprint for Campaign Finance Reform,” (a report of the New York City Bar Association’s commission on campaign finance reform).

ALEXANDER HERTEL-FERNANDEZ is Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is a political scientist who studies the political economy of the United States, with an emphasis on the politics of organized interests and public policy. He is the author of State Capture (Oxford University Press, 2019) and Politics at Work (Oxford University Press, 2018).

MICHAEL G. MILLER is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. His work applies quantitative methods to questions in American elections and political behavior. He is author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles and of the book, Subsidizing Democracy: How Public Funding Changes Elections, and How It Can Work in the Future (Cornell University Press, 2014). He is also coauthor of Super PAC! Money, Elections, and Voters After Citizens United (Routledge, 2014).

ESTER R. FUCHS is Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science and is the Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005.  Professor Fuchs serves as Director of, an online voter engagement initiative for New York City.

About the Event Sponsors

THE AMERICAN ASSEMBLY fosters public conversations that lead to more just, equitable, and democratic societies. It does so by bringing research to bear on public problems, by creating new resources for public understanding, and by strengthening the forms of trust and deliberation that make democracy work. For more information, visit:

THE ACADEMY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, founded in 1880, promotes nonpartisan, scholarly analysis of political, social, and economic issues by sponsoring conferences and producing publications. Published continually since 1886, the Academy’s journal, Political Science Quarterly, is edited for both specialists and informed readers with a keen interest in public and international affairs. For more information, visit:

With additional support from the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE).