Money in Politics: A Barrier to a 21st Century Civil Rights Agenda?

Thursday, June 9, 2016 - 12:00pm to 6:00pm

The Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights present:

Money in Politics: 
A Barrier to a 21st Century 
Civil Rights Agenda?

June 9, 2016
12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. Registration and Lunch
1:00 p.m. Program
5:15 p.m. Reception

National Education Association
1201 16th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C.

The 2016 presidential election is dominated by big money — with close to half of all super PAC money coming from just 50 donors. When wealthy, white donors set the agenda each election season, whose voices are left unheard?

The Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights invite you to engage in a thought-provoking and timely discussion about how the outsized influence of big money in politics may be a 21st century civil rights issue and what we can do about it.  

The discussion will feature:

Wade Henderson, President & CEO, The Leadership Conference
Heather C. McGhee, President, Demos
Nicole Austin-Hillery, Director, Washington, D.C. office of the Brennan Center
Elected officials, as well as government reform, racial, and social justice advocates

Recent Supreme Court rulings such as Citizens United have helped a select, unrepresentative group of wealthy donors dominate our elections like never before. With frustration about the role of big money in politics growing each year, it is no surprise the issue has risen to prominence in this election’s public debate. 

But, the candidates and media have not focused on a critical piece of the problem: how the need for candidates to raise large sums from wealthy donors acts as a barrier to equal representation for women and communities of color.

Is this lack of equal representation just a political problem — or should it also be considered an issue of civil rights?

On June 9, join civil rights leaders, money in politics experts, local and national advocates, and elected officials to examine how money creates a barrier to effective campaigning and participation in the electoral process for women and communities of color — from filtering out aspiring public servants without access to networks of wealthy donors, to dictating which constituents officeholders prioritize.

We will discuss concrete solutions, and the role of civil rights, racial, and social justice advocates in building the powerful coalition we must be in order to win.

We hope you can join us! 

We are currently at capacity for this event. If you wish to be added to the wait list, please contact  Allison Ramiller at or 202-249-7194.