Campaign finance will be the topic when Wilkes University’s chapter of the national political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha, hosts a panel discussion, “Is the Sky the Limit? Campaign Financing in the 2012 Election Cycle and Beyond.” The April 4 event features two experts in the field: Robin Kolodny, associate professor of political science at Temple University, and Kenneth Vogel, reporter for Politico. The discussion will be held in the Ballroom of the Henry Student Center at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Much was written about how much money was raised and spent during the 2008 presidential election, particularly Barack Obama’s decision to forego public money. But several federal court decisions created opportunities for independent groups, corporations and unions to raise and spend unlimited amounts in support of candidates they favor. The panel discussion will explore how the outside funds influenced the presidential election and selected senatorial and congressional races and speculate on what the 2016 election cycle will look like.
Kolodny is the author of Pursuing Majorities: Congressional Campaign Committees in American Politics, as well as numerous articles on political parties in the U.S. Congress and in elections. She also writes extensively on political consultants and campaign finance in the United States. Kolodny received her bachelor’s degree in political science at Florida International University and her doctorate in political science from the Johns Hopkins University. She has also been an Academic Advisory Board Member of the Campaign Finance Institute since 2000. She served as the president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, from 2010 to 2012.
Vogel brings extensive experience as a political reporter at newspapers in the United States. Since joining Politico, he has covered politics and government at all levels, from small-town events to Congress and the presidential campaign. Before joining Politico, he reported for The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., The Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. and The Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.
Vogel had the opportunity to learn about the U.S. Congress through a fellowship from the American Political Science Association that allowed him to work on the staffs of two committees in the House of Representatives. He has won awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Vogel has analyzed politics on CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, National Public Radio and radio and television stations around the country. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Wilkes University’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, received a 2012 Chapter Activity Grant that provided full funding for the panel discussion. The chapter also received one of the Best Chapter Awards for 2011-2012, which recognizes local chapters that are active in their departments and universities and exhibit high levels of energy and creativity in furthering the goals of the honor society.