After their warnings about excesses and corrupt practices on Wall Street went unheeded but proved accurate, former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, former SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, formerly a bankruptcy professor at Harvard Law School, set about trying to institute meaningful financial reforms from inside federal agencies and through politics.
On Nov. 24, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard hosted “Too Big to Fail or Too Hard to Remember: Lessons from the New Deal and the Triumph, Tragedy, and Lost Legacy of James M. Landis,” a discussion of the legacy of scholar, administrator, advocate and political adviser known for his seminal contribution to the creation of the modern system of market regulation in the United States.
At a Nov. 8 talk at Harvard Law School, Representative John Sarbanes ’88 (D-MD) advocated for “grassroots democracy” funded by the people rather than by Political Action Committees and other large donors. Sarbanes is a co-sponsor of the Grassroots Democracy Act, intended to empower small donors and to free lawmakers from their dependency on big money. The event was sponsored by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at HLS and director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is the author of “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It,” an exhaustively researched and passionately argued indictment of Capitol Hill and the money-centered daily dance between lawmakers and lobbyists. As a columnist for Atlantic Magazine and in interviews on national media, he has shared his ideas on how to stop corruption in Congress. He was recently profiled in a Harvard Magazine piece by Jonathan Shaw entitled “A Radical Fix for the Republic.”
On Tuesday, July 24, Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights at an open-session hearing titled “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs.”
Appearing at Harvard Law School a year and a half after being released from federal prison, a contrite Jack Abramoff expressed a desire to thwart the political corruption he once infamously practiced. The event on Dec. 6 was sponsored by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, whose director, HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig, interviewed Abramoff, a former lobbyist who pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. “His experience,” said Lessig, “has an enormous amount to teach us.”
At a recent event at Harvard Law School, HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig and Harvard Kennedy School Professor David Gergen discussed Lessig’s new book, “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It.” The event was co-hosted by the Harvard Law School Library, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.