HLS Rootstrikers, ACS, HLS Democrats, and HLS Republicans will be hosting a conference titled: A Deeper Dive into Campaign Finance. Sponsored by the DOS Grant Fund.

The events schedule is as follows:

(1) Solutions to State-Level Corruption: Focus on New York

Thursday, March 31, 12:00-1:00 pm

 WCC 2004

This panel will address corruption at the state-level of government with a focus on New York. The two highest-ranking members of the New York state legislature (a Democrat and a Republican) were convicted of corruption this winter. The panel will review the recent events and look forward to what New York and other states can do to prevent similar corruption from distorting their legislative process.


  • Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York
    • Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy and reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that empowers ordinary people to make their voices heard.
    • Before joining Common Cause, Susan served as executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign. As a member of the New York and California bars, she was a litigator for almost 20 years as a trial lawyer in Los Angeles, specializing in complex commercial litigation and intellectual property.
    • Ms. Lerner has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the New York University School of Law.
  • Richard Brodsky, former NYS Assemblyman
    • Richard Brodsky is a former 14-term New York State Assemblyman from Westchester, as well as Senior Fellow at Demos and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner.
    • In the NYS Assembly, Mr. Brodsky Chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation, creating NY’s Environmental Protection Fund which disbursed billions to preserve and restore the environment statewide. He successfully challenged Indian Point Nuclear Plant on a range of issues including polluting the Hudson River, faulty evacuation planning, and hazardous radioactive leaks. As Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, he authored the historic 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act, a sweeping reform of all of NY’s 700 authorities, the most significant reform of NYS government in decades.
    • Mr. Brodsky received a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Brandeis University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


(2) Effects of Campaign Finance Laws on Policy Outcomes

Friday, April 1, 12:00-1:00 pm

 Pound 102

This panel will highlight the importance of campaign finance to the issues that have been hotly debated in the recent presidential primary debates (e.g. immigration, labor, the environment, and the economy). Panelists will be asked to concretely discuss how big money influences political outcomes.


  • Laura MacCleery, Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest
    • CPNI is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit watchdog and consumer advocacy group that advocates for safer and healthier foods. Ms. MacCleery, as its Director of Regulatory Affairs, leads work on labeling and additives.
    • Prior to CPNI, Ms. MacCleery was Deputy Director of Auto Safety and Director of Congress Watch at Public Citizen, which is a consumer-rights advocacy group, leading on issues from government transparency to safety standards for toys. She was also Deputy Director at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she taught a course on public interest legal advocacy, published a law review article on campaign finance reform, and oversaw state and federal litigation. She also served as Director of Government Relations at the Center for Reproductive Rights, as well as Legislative Director at National Nurses United, where she worked on issues related to public health.
    • Ms. MacCleery graduated with highest honors from the University of Virginia, earned her law degree from Stanford and clerked for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs.
  • Joan Mandle, Executive Director of Democracy Matters
    • Democracy Matters is a national student organization with a focus on campaign finance reform through clean elections systems. It offers internships in political organization and social change to high school and undergraduate students, who organize actions and projects connecting pro-democracy reforms to particular issues like the environment, civil rights, education, health care, and foreign policy. Ms. Mandle lectures widely at these schools, and to civic groups and organizations as well, on subjects of democracy, women, and political change.
    • Ms. Mandle is also Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Emerita, at Colgate University, where she also directed its Women’s Studies Program and founded and its Center for Women’s Studies. She has written books about women’s issues and about political organizing.  She spearheaded a two-year grassroots organizing drive in Oakland, California and in San Francisco that resulted in the successful passage of significant campaign finance reform in both those cities. Mandle also has had extensive direct experience with the electoral system, having served as Campaign Manager for incumbent Congressman Robert W. Edgar of Pennsylvania in two election cycles.
    • Ms. Mandle received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s and doctorate from Bryn Mawr.
  • John Pudner, Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic
    • John Pudner is executive director of Take Back Our Republic,  a nonpartisan nonprofit that engages in research, education and advocacy about conservative solutions to money in politics.
    • He managed political campaigns for almost three decades. He founded Concentric Direct LLC, which oversees grassroots operations and runs political campaigns. He was also vice director of external affairs for ALFA and president of national grassroots affairs for McGuire Woods Consulting. served as Director of External Affairs for His political work stretched throughout his career as founder of Concentric Direct LLC, , and vice president of national grassroots affairs for McGuire Woods Consulting.
    • Mr. Pudner received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism from Marquette University.
  • Richard Painter, author of Taxation Only With Representation
    • Richard Painter is the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at University of Minnesota Law School. He has written dozens of articles, book reviews, and essays, including “Taxation Only With Representation: The Conservative Conscience and Campaign Finance Reform” which argues that political conservatives need to be concerned about, and embrace a solution to, the current system of campaign finance. He has served as Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel’s office, serving as the chief ethics lawyer for the President, White House employees and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the Executive Branch.
    • Mr. Painter received his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in history from Harvard University and his law degree from Yale University, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, he clerked for Judge John T. Noonan Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and later practiced at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City and Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford, Connecticut.Deeper Dive Poster