Anthony Kammer

Anthony Kammer is counsel at Demos. He graduated in 2011 from Harvard Law School, where he was President of the Harvard Legal Theory Forum and a founding board member of the Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences.

Recent Articles

Freedom For the Few

Flickr/Tobin B.
We should be done by now with the idea that a corporation is a single thing. Corporations contain a multitude of conflicting interests and are much more like miniature governments with their own governance structures and election systems than is commonly recognized. While these structures are far more hierarchical and undemocratic than we require of our public institutions, Americans should not be resigned that this is the best or the only way the private sector can be structured. The debate over corporate disclosure currently going on at the SEC exposes some important fissures within the modern American corporation. On the one hand, corporate managers and their allies have argued that corporations should be able to engage in political activities without having to disclose how much they spent or who that money went to. But there is a subtle slight-of-hand to this argument. It conflates the overall interests of the corporation with the desires of management and directors. What...

Crossroads GPS in the Crosshairs

Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced new disclosure requirements for “dark money” nonprofits . The proposed rules would require 501(c)(4) organizations that spend money on politics in New York State to reveal the donors behind their spending. The Los Angeles Times summarized the proposed rule as follows: The regulations would require nonprofits that spend at least $10,000 a year on New York state and local elections to report all their political expenditures, as well as all contributors who give at least $100. The rules would apply to any group engaged in election-related activity within six months of a New York election, whether on television or the Internet, through the mail, or even by a grant to another organization. This is a good thing. Secret spending is a serious threat to accountability and good government . It makes it impossible for Americans to know who their elected officials are indebted to and who is really calling the shots. Earlier Demos...

One Share, One Vote

(Flickr/Simon Greig)
In response to my short primer on the corporation , Professor Colleen Dunlavy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison sent her interesting article, From Citizens to Plutocrats: Nineteenth-century Shareholder Voting Rights and Theories of the Corporation . Given the explosion in income inequality between America’s managerial class and its average employees , the article a useful corrective to the idea that such outcomes are a natural product of market forces. The historical account she provides goes a long way in contesting the “tendency to treat plutocratic governance as natural,” and it reveals how exceptional the United States has been in authorizing such uniquely in-egalitarian distributions of power within the corporation. In the article, Dunlavy describes how the corporation was transformed, over the course of several decades, from a relatively democratic institution built on a principle of “one shareholder, one vote” into the more plutocratic “one share, one vote” institution we...

Limits of a Libertarian First Amendment

I had a few thoughts I wanted to share in response to Glenn Greenwald’s thoughtful reply to Mike Konczal and Jeremey Kessler’s Bloggingheads discussion re Citizens United . 1) I certainly agree that there’s something distinguishable between right-wing libertarianism and the First Amendment views of Mr. Greenwald, the ACLU, and Eliot Spitzer. The support for public financing is an extremely important difference, and I would be very curious to know what types of public matching or leveling, if any, Mr. Greenwald believes would be consistent with the First Amendment. The word “libertarianism” is not entirely out of place though. There was a pretty clear turn toward civil libertarianism in First Amendment doctrine in the 1920s and 30s, led by one of the most liberal justices to ever sit on the Court, Louis Brandeis. And it’s a view that won over many on the Roosevelt Court and Warren Court as they made First Amendment into the highly speech-protective doctrine we currently recognize. In...

Just How Bad Was Citizens United For Business?

Tuesday’s race was the first presidential election to take place since Citizens United , and campaign spending this cycle exceeded $6 billion . With fundraising split roughly evenly between the two major parties, it was inevitable that some donors wouldn’t be able to buy the electoral outcomes they were hoping for. Tuesday’s election did offer a number of encouraging signs that coalitions of grassroots activists, volunteers, and voters can, in fact, stand up to SuperPACs, 501(c)4 groups, and other powerful aggregations of wealth that have been empowered as a result of America’s deregulated campaign finance system. Despite these positive developments, it would be a mistake to think that the fight against money in politics is over. As my colleague Heather McGhee wrote yesterday, millionaire political donors still ended the night with far more political access and influence than the vast majority of American voters. Inequality in political spending continues to undermine the principle of...