A steady stream of political scientists who study campaign finance have argued that political outcomes are primarily determined by voters, who place a hefty check on the potentially harmful effects of money and private interests in politics. But if asked, most ordinary Americans say that private interests that invest enormous sums of money in candidates and elections profoundly alter political outcomes, often to the detriment of the public interest. Is the US the only country with a political finance system where, as the saying goes, “if you pay the piper, you can call the tune?” In this week’s edition of The Breakdown, political scientist Thomas Ferguson joins DC Editor Christopher Hayes to discuss how the US campaign finance system compares to the rest of the world’s.
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Note: This episode of The Breakdown originally aired April 15, 2011. New episodes will return next week.