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Criminology Forum: Glenn Sterner, Ph.D.

Monday, December 5, 2016 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

406 Oswald Tower

“Network of Influence: Exploring Criminal Justice Campaign Finance in Montgomery County, PA”

Post Citizens United, campaign contributions to elected officials in the US are a topic of great debate regarding the functioning of our democracy. The strongest opponents of financial contributions to elected official’s political campaigns allege the ability for individuals and organizations to utilize these contributions as a way to “buy campaigns” or leverage influence on elected officials. Even more insidious is the allegation that contributors aim to influence a network of campaigns, to manipulate a greater section of the democratic system of government. Much of the critiques and analyses regarding campaign contributions are aimed at high profile officials, i.e. US President, US Congress, or Governors. Less attention is given to local officials, especially those within the criminal justice system. This presentation highlights several preliminary findings from a pilot study that utilizes a social network approach to examine the network of campaign contributions to elected criminal justice system officials. This presentation highlights several preliminary findings from a pilot study that utilizes a social network approach to examine the network of campaign contributions to elected criminal justice system officials. Montgomery County had readily available public data that provided a convenience sample.

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