9 things we learned at the Janus Campaign Finance Debate

As politically and socially active as Brown is, three (vastly important) words rarely enter the myriad of debates and discussions taking place on the Main Green, in classrooms, dorm room floors and, because this is Brown, at parties on Saturday nights: campaign finance reform.

Everyone sort of knows what it is (“we need to get money out of politics!”), but few talk about the specifics. How are we going to get money out of politics? Exactly why is that so vastly important? Is it an attainable goal?

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The Janus Forum sought to answer this question by organizing an informal debate between Harvard Professor of Law Lawrence Lessig and UCLA Professor of Law Eugene Volokh. Both are outspoken members of the campaign finance reform debate, Lessig an advocate for overhauling our current campaign finance system (he recently started a grassroots PAC to support candidates pledging to reform campaign finance laws), Volokh, an eminent critic of reform.

What ensued was a nuanced and in-depth discussion of not only the theoretical problems and solutions (or lack thereof, according to Volokh) but also of tangible steps forward. Here are the highlights.

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