Big money interests increasingly dominate our election process and threaten the basic promise of American democracy: political equality for all.  Like the poll tax of the past, today’s campaign finance system operates as a barrier to equal and meaningful participation in the political process. As such, money in politics should be viewed from a civil rights perspective.

On October 15, 2015, the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, North Carolina hosted a special forum on “Money In Politics as a Civil Rights Issue.” The event was held in partnership with Free Speech For People, Democracy North Carolina , The Institute For Southern Studies, North Carolina Voters For Clean Elections, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the American Constitution Society law student chapters at Duke Law School, NCCU School of Law, and UNC School of Law.

The following are two videos featuring excerpts from this forum.  The first video includes remarks from Nicole Austin-Hillery of the Brennan Center for Justice; Professor Guy-Uriel Charles of Duke Law School; Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies; and North Carolina State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr.  The second video features remarks from North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley focused on the threat big money in elections poses to judicial integrity. Bob Hall, the Executive Director of Democracy North Carolina, served as the moderator of this forum.