Ten Years After Citizens United, Four Scholars Tackle Money in Politics

Strategic Communications Associate

Ten years after the Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting independent spending by corporations violated the First Amendment, the long-term impact of the Citizens United decision is still being debated. How has the explosion of dark money affected the political landscape? What is the influence of big donors on parties? And what reforms could shift power back to voters? SSN scholars Stan Nguyen Oklobdzija, Adam Bonica, Howard Rosenthal, and Tabatha Abu El-Haj weigh in.

How Local Transparency Laws Can Bring "Dark Money" Spending in U.S. Politics Out of the Shadows 

Stan Nguyen Oklobdzija, Claremont McKenna College

“Dark money networks – “dark parties” as I call them – promote far more extreme candidates than the traditional political parties and their allies, especially in the primary elections.”


Rising Economic Inequality and Campaign Contributions from Very Wealthy Americans

Adam Bonica, Stanford University & Howard Rosenthal, New York University

“The super-rich control resources that parties and politicians require and, as a result, are courted. Politicians have incentives to pay attention to the policy concerns that animate wealthy donors on left and right alike – and this dynamic influences public discussion and policymaking.


Why Strengthening Citizen Ties —Not Unleashing Big Donors— is the Way to Revitalize U.S. Political Parties

Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Drexel University

“Serious party reform [...] requires a fundamental rethinking of political parties and how to make them both more responsive to constituents and more capable of governing.”