Watch it live: Will Super PACs Determine the 2012 Election?


If you can’t make it to Capitol Hill today for today’s Advisory Committee on Transparency event on Super PACs, don’t worry, because you can watch it live on C-Span starting at 2:15. If you would like to receive notices of upcoming events, drop us a line at

Super PACs have fundamentally changed the relationship between money and politics, and all too often are misunderstood. These new vehicles for political advocacy have upended traditional political alliances, infused tremendous amounts of undisclosed (or partially disclosed) money into the political system, and kicked off controversies over what our 21st century democracy should look like.

We are pleased to present the preeminent experts who will discuss what the public knows — and should know — about Super PACs, including the reporter who coined the term “Super PAC” and leading advocates on both sides of the transparency question. We will explore the legal limits of what can be disclosed about Super PACs, and the policy questions around what the public has a right to know.

The panelists are:


  • Eliza Newlin Carney: Staff Writer for CQ Roll Call covering the issues of lobbying and influence
  • Allen Dickerson: Legal Director and Interim Executive Director of the Center for Competitive Politics
  • Mimi Marziani: Counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
  • Paul Ryan: FEC Program Director and Associate Legal Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center
  • Daniel Schuman: Policy Counsel at the Sunlight Foundation and Director of the Advisory Committee on Transparency

Full biographies are below the fold.

Eliza Newlin Carney is a staff writer covering lobbying and influence for CQ Roll Call. She signed on in June 2011.

Carney previously was a contributing editor at National Journal, writing about campaign financing and Washington’s influence industry. Her weekly election law column, Rules of the Game, for and NationalJournalDaily, analyzed the latest developments in lobbying, ethics, political money and voting. She also contributed features and investigative stories to National Journal and Government Executive magazines, among others, and worked as a freelance writer.

Before that Carney spent close to 10 years as a National Journal staff correspondent covering Congress, political money and lobbying. She also wrote about abortion, health care and welfare. Before joining National Journal in 1991, she covered Capitol Hill for States News Service, where her subscribing newspapers included the New York Times and the Evening Sun of Baltimore. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter in the Philadelphia area.

Carney has offered commentary on C-SPAN, CNN and National Public Radio, among others. She also has taught journalism at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, and has written a chapter in a book, Abortion Politics in American States (M.E. Sharpe Inc., 1994.)

Carney has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa. Her work has been recognized by the Capital Press Women and the Philadelphia Press Association. She lives in Silver Spring, Md., with her husband, Dan Carney, an editorial writer for USA Today, and their daughter, Elizabeth.


Allen Dickerson oversees the Center for Competitive Politics’ litigation efforts before state and federal courts.

He was previously an associate with the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He has served as lead counsel in cases before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, and has participated in litigation before numerous trial courts and arbitration panels. His writing has appeared in the Naval Law Review and been published by the National Institute of Military Justice, and he continues to write on topics concerning campaign finance regulation, military justice, and the First Amendment. Dickerson is a graduate of Yale College and New York University School of Law.


Mimi Murray Digby Marziani serves as counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program where her work focuses on money in politics, voting rights and legislative dysfunction. In this role, Ms. Marziani litigates campaign finance and voting rights cases, plays an active role in the Brennan Center’s policy advocacy efforts on these issues, and leads the Center’s filibuster reform efforts.

Ms. Marziani frequently writes on democracy issues, and has contributed opinion editorials to U.S. News and World Report, The National Law Journal, Politico, The New York Law Journal, among others. She has been a featured speaker in a range of academic, media and political forums, including at the influential Netroots Nation conference in July 2010. In September 2010, Ms. Marziani was invited to testify on the constitutionality of filibuster reform before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

Ms. Marziani also serves an NYU adjunct professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, teaching undergraduate students about how constitutional law influences public policy debates.

From September 2008 to May 2010, in addition to her work at the Brennan Center, Ms. Marziani taught undergraduate students about the U.S. Constitution at NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, she clerked for Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, IV in the Southern District of New York.

Ms. Marziani graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law in 2008. There, she was an editor of Review of Law and Social Change and founded the school’s Alternative Spring Break program – a student group that facilitates week-long public interest internships for law students. Ms. Marziani was awarded the university-wide NYU Presidents Service Award as well as the Dean John Sexton Prize for Service to the Law School.

Ms. Marziani received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University in English literature and psychology.


Paul S. Ryan joined the Campaign Legal Center in October 2004. He has specialized in campaign finance, ethics, and election law for more than a decade and is former Political Reform Project Director at the Center for Governmental Studies (1999-2004) in Los Angeles. Mr. Ryan directs the Campaign Legal Center’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) Program and regularly represents the Campaign Legal Center before the Commission.

Mr. Ryan also litigates campaign finance issues before federal and state courts throughout the United States and has published extensively on the subject of election law. His recent publications include Wisconsin Right to Life and the Resurrection of Furgatch, 19 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 130 (2008), 527s in 2008: The Past, Present and Future From A Legislative Perspective , 45 Harv. J. on Legis. 471 (2008).

Mr. Ryan has testified as an expert on election law before numerous legislative bodies and government ethics agencies, including the Federal Election Commission, the California State Legislature, the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the New York City Council, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. Mr. Ryan has also spoken on the topics of campaign finance and ethics laws at conferences around the nation, has appeared as a campaign finance law expert on news programs of CNN , NBC , C-SPAN and other media outlets, and has been quoted by The New York Times , Los Angeles Times , The Washington Post , Roll Call and other news publications.

Mr. Ryan is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law’s Program in Public Interest Law and Policy (2001) and the University of Montana (1998), and is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, the State of California, the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Daniel Schuman is the Sunlight Foundation’s policy counsel and director of the Advisory Committee on Transparency. He works to develop policies that further Sunlight’s mission of catalyzing greater government openness and transparency.

An expert on the U.S. Congress, Daniel regularly works with congressional and executive branch staff to craft transparency and ethics legislation and policies. He directs the Advisory Committee on Transparency, a project of the Sunlight Foundation that educations policymakers on transparency-related issues, problems, and solutions, and shares ideas with members of the Congressional Transparency Caucus.

Daniel has served on many task forces, notably including the American Bar Association Administrative Law Section’s Lobbying Reform Task Force. He regularly speaks and writes about transparency and technology issues, and has appeared on NPR and C-SPAN and been cited by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media outlets. Daniel graduated cum laude from Emory University School of Law, and has worked for Congress, as a Legislative Attorney for the Congressional Research Service, and for a variety of non-profits as both counsel and director of communications. His twitter name is @danielschuman and his email is dschuman(at)