iOS app Android app

Jonathan Backer
GET UPDATES FROM Jonathan Backer
Jonathan Backer joined the Brennan Center in August 2011 as a Research Associate in the Democracy Program where he focuses on money in politics. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Mr. Backer worked for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant, serving as an advocate for the Reform Jewish Movement's economic justice, separation of church and state, and voting and elections policy. Mr. Backer graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University in 2010 with a degree in Political Science and History.

Entries by Jonathan Backer

Why Big Money Still Won in 2012

(2) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 10:51 AM

“We got way too excited over money in the 2012 elections,” Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein argued at a conference on money in politics at Yale University on Monday.

In the wake of the 2012 election, the political commentariat has largely dismissed the effects of unprecedented outside spending unleashed by...

Read Post

Aggregate Contribution Limits Promote Electoral Competition

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 1:05 PM

Did the Supreme Court take the next Citizens United? The Court agreed to hear McCutcheon v. FEC, a case challenging the federal aggregate contribution limit — the total any one donor can contribute to all candidates, party committees, and PACs. Striking down this limit would once again uproot our...

Read Post

Filibluster: Senate Rules Deal Yields Good and Bad News

(11) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 5:02 PM

Senate leaders Thursday adopted a bipartisan package of rules changes designed to smooth Senate procedure and curb government gridlock, but the dream of truly reforming the filibuster came to an end (for now). Advocates spent months pushing for significant change. Although this package fell well short of that...

Read Post

Defrosting the Senate

(1) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 10:03 AM

The fight over the fiscal cliff has dominated the news, but it’s not the only threat to the nation’s economic stability and progress. Unless the Senate fixes the filibuster at the start of the next Congress, the growing list of crucial national issues to resolve will continue to languish in...

Read Post

The Freshman Filibuster Reformers

(22) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 10:12 AM

Voters did not go to the polls Tuesday for two more years of congressional dysfunction.

As Harry Reid noted: “It’s time to put politics aside, and work together to find solutions. The strategy of obstruction, gridlock and delay was soundly rejected by the American people.”

Elections have, or should have...

Read Post

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Touch

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 4:28 PM

The leaked video of a Romney fundraising dinner in Boca Raton says a lot about the state of our democracy. According to Romney, 47 percent of the country “will vote for the President no matter what” because they are “dependent upon government” and “pay no income taxes.” As a...

Read Post

Our Akin Breakin' Democracy

(1) Comments | Posted August 30, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Congressman Todd Akin's meteoric rise to notoriety over ignorant and offensive remarks about abortion and rape has once again highlighted the dramatic rightward shift of the Republican Party on reproductive rights. The incident also reveals troubling signs about the health of our democracy.

Last week, Akin rebuffed calls from Republicans...

Read Post

The Small Donor Revolution Will Not Be Televised

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2012 | 8:44 AM

Shortly after President Obama took office in 2009, Norm Eisen, the White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform, suggested that the 2008 election’s “small donor revolution” was “like that other great revolution that resulted in our presence here today—the American Revolution.”

While Eisen acknowledged that “a revolution...

Read Post

Fair Elections for NY: Make It There, It'll Make It Anywhere

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 7:11 PM

During his 2012 State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his strong support for public campaign financing, along with other reforms to improve New York's moribund campaign finance laws.

He did so with good reason. A recent survey ranked New York the

Read Post

Misleading Data on Outside Spending

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2012 | 12:31 PM

A recent article by Jim Geraghty in the National Review purported to debunk the narrative that the Obama campaign is struggling to keep pace with outside groups -- largely, super PACs -- supporting Mitt Romney. Geraghty claimed that, in fact, outside groups had spent $35.3 million on negative...

Read Post

From Inconsistency to Incoherence

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2012 | 2:43 PM

Senator McConnell has recently received criticism for contradicting statements on campaign finance disclosure, which he has supported throughout his political career but now vociferously opposes.

Pushing back against charges of hypocrisy, McConnell...

Read Post