Money in Politics: How the New Norms Affect Campaigns, Legislation, and Political Life - led by Senator Kay R. Hagan

Time: Wednesdays from February 18- April 15, 4:00-5:30pm

Location: L166, HKS

Week One: Campaigning in a Post-Citizens United World

Having just run and lost the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history with a total of $113 million spent on TV ads alone, Senator Hagan brings a unique perspective to the real-world effects of changes in the way money impacts modern campaigns post-Citizens United

Week Two: Mark Elias, Election specialist, Perkins Coie Law Firm: Historical Perceptions of Campaign Finance Laws & the Changing Landscape

Guest speaker Mark Elias, a nationally recognized expert in political law, represented U.S. Senator Al Franken in his successful 2008 recount, which he won by a 300-vote margin and was sworn in on July 7, 2009. Potential topics of discussion include the evolution of the role of dark money in political campaigns as well as the various types of political spending, including 501(c)(4) organizations, Super PACs, state parties and candidates themselves.

Week Three: David Dixon, Partner, Dixon Davis Media: Paid Media

Guest Speaker David Dixon will highlight how paid media influences voters with a profile on the 2008 North Carolina Senate race between incumbent Elizabeth Dole and challenger Kay Hagan and the infamous “Godless Ad.” He will also explore changes in the media landscape over the last 10 years, driven by the rise of influential third-party players in campaigns. Dixon Davis is a full-service strategic communications company and advertising agency that services a broad range of Democratic candidates, coalitions and non-partisan entities. Among others, their clients include President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Kay Hagan.

Week Four: Investing in Higher Education to Maintain a Competitive Edge

Dr. Arati Prabhakar from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will discuss the need for continued investments in higher education, particularly in the STEM Fields, to meet the nation’s security needs in a changing world. DARPA was created in 1958 after the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik showed that a fundamental change was needed in America’s defense science and technology programs. DARPA led the effort to create the Internet, GPS and the stealth fighter.

Week Five: 2016, A Better Year for Democrats?

Guest: Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Week Six: Lobbyists and Their Impact on Public Policy

Guest: Heather Podesta, founder of Heather Podesta + Partners

Join Sentaor Hagan and guest Heather Podesta for a discussion on the role of lobbyists and their effect on public policy.

Week 7: Campaign Finance Reform

Lawrence Lessig will join Senator Hagan to discuss campaign finance reform. Last year, Professor Lessig launched the Mayday PAC which is a crowd-funded, non-partisan Super PAC to help elected candidates to Congress to pass campaign finance reforms.

Week 8: Discussion of For-Profit Universities

In her final week of discussion, Senator Hagan will focus on the controversy and issues surrounding for-profit universities.

In 2009, for-profit universities earned $26 billion. In 2010, they earned $32 billion. For-profits account for 12% of students and 24% of pell grant disbursements. However, their students account for 47% of default rates on federal loans.

***All study groups are off-the-record and not for media coverage***