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Money and Politics (NIF Report)

This report is an analysis of what happened in 2001 National Issues Forums (NIF) that took place in 44 states and the District of Columbia on “Money and Politics,” a sample of the hundreds of NIF forums that continue to take place across the country. To learn how citizens feel about this issue, Doble Research Associates, a public interest consulting firm, analyzed what happened in these forums, including questionnaire results from 1,457 participants who sent in a questionnaire by August 1, 2001. Find more details & order info on the NIF website.  From the report…

1. The Impact of Money on Politics: Participants in National Issues Forums on “Money and Politics” saw the influence of money on the political system as damaging and harmful in three ways: first, they said, money warps political decision making so that the public interest is routinely subordinated to special interests; second, they said it skews the election process, giving well-financed candidates a great and unfair advantage; third, they said it alienates ordinary Americans who often feel that their voices do not count.

2. The Impact of Money on the Public Dialogue: Forum participants said that beyond its harmful impact on government and elections, money corrupts the “public dialogue,” the exchanges and ideas espoused by candidates, officeholders, and other public leaders that citi- zens hear, consider, and deliberate about. Forum participants operationally defined the issue of money and politics in public terms – in terms of the public’s right to hear. Money, they said, both limits the voices that people hear and amplifies some at the expense of others. The net effect, they said, is that many people do not hear leaders who speak to their concerns or articulate their deepest values.

More about National Issues Forums and their Reports on the Issues…

The National Issues Forums (NIF) network includes civic, educational, and other organizations, and individuals, whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America. NIF issue guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. Look through all the NIF issue guides and their corresponding moderator guides, DVDs, and other resources at www.nifi.org/issue_books.

Reports are published periodically to communicate the outcomes of forums held across the nation about a particular issue. Making use of participants’ answers to forum questionnaires, reports from moderators, and in-depth studies of selected forums, these reports describe in some detail what happened as people deliberated about the issue at hand. View all NIF Reports on the Issues at www.nifi.org/reports/issues.aspx.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/reports/detail_issues.aspx?catID=17&itemID=297

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