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Corporations attempt to capture the government and to wield influence over policy outcomes.  What channels are available to firms attempting to do so in the United States—and how is this activity regulated and disclosed? Is there too much or too little corporate money in politics? Are politicians infinitely bribable or are there limits?  And what’s the connection between corporate political influence and gerrymandering and corporate social responsibility?

Join us for two stand-alone, interrelated lunch seminars exploring these topics with Professor Brian Richter.

Brian Kelleher Richter is currently visiting the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago’s Booth School from the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business where he is an Assistant Professor in the Business, Government, and Society Department.  He received his Ph.D. from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, a Master’s from UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and his S.B. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.  Outside of academia, he’s worked in both the public and the private sector, in the US and abroad.  At UT Austin, he teaches courses on corporate social responsibility and business & politics. 

Wednesday, May 23, 12–1 p.m.
Corporate-Linked Money

Topics addressed include:

  • Is there too much corporate money in politics?
  • How is corporate political activity regulated?
  • What types of corporate-linked money flow into US politics and how do these influence channels work in practice?
    • What are campaign contributions?
      • What is a political action committee (PAC)?
      • What is a personal campaign contribution?
    • What is a “Super PAC”? And what did the Citizens United Supreme Court case actually do?
    • What is lobbying?
  • How do different forms of corporate-linked money in politics actually work in practice?
  • Where else might influence money flow? Are there linkage to corporate philanthropy?

Watch video

Thursday, May 24, 12–1 p.m.
Alternative Sources of Influence

Topics addressed include:

  • Are politicians infinitely bribable?  What are the limits to corporate political influence beyond regulating money in politics?

  • What is the relationship between corporate social responsibility profiles of firms have anything to do with money in politics?  Why does such a relationship exist?

  • What is gerrymandering, how is it done, and by whom? 

  • How do political districts and gerrymandering matter for firms interested in obtaining beneficial policy outcomes?

  • Why might the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decisions on gerrymandering (in Gil vs Whitford and Benisek v Lamone) potentially matter more for corporate political influence than Citizens United?

Watch video

All seminars take place from 12 to 1 p.m. in Harper Center, Room C25 (5807 S Woodlawn Ave)