Available on-site or virtually,
MasterMedia Speakers Bureau presents
Daniel G. Newman
...leading national expert on government accountability and money in politics;
...co-founder and president of MapLight, a non partisan nonprofit that promotes transparency and political reform
...author of the groundbreaking graphic novel, Unrig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy
Section 1: Daniel’s Biography
Section 2: Links to Videos (media sampler and information about the book, Unrig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy)
Section 3: Statement of Purpose by Daniel Newman
Section 4: Praise for Daniel Newman, Author
Section 5: Topics/Programs Offered by Daniel Newman
Section 6: Feedback on Daniel Newman, Speaker
Section 7: Contact Information
Daniel G. Newman is the Co-Founder and President of MapLight, an
organization whose influential and unabridged database connects data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence never before possible to see.
Newman has led MapLight from a 2005 startup to an established national resource for citizens and journalists.
Daniel Newman’s innovative use of technology to reveal influence in government earned him a position on Fast Company’s list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2010 and recognition as a World Affairs Council Civic Innovator in 2014. He has led MapLight to several awards including a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism; a James Madison Freedom of Information Award; a Library Journal Best Reference Award; and a Webby Award nomination for Best Politics Website.
A national expert on money and politics issues, Newman regularly discusses MapLight’s research findings and his views on the broader trends of money in politics in documentary films and on national news outlets including NPR, PBS, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, FOX Business News, and more.
Prior to starting MapLight, Newman was an entrepreneur and political organizer. He authored three books on speech recognition software and founded Say I Can, a speech recognition firm. He has served as a consultant to various political and nonprofit groups, including the Center for Voting and Democracy, Israel Venture Network, and the Mental Health Association of San Francisco.
Daniel Newman received an MA degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, where he attended on a National Science Foundation Fellowship and researched how people think about political and ethical issues. He holds a BA degree in biomedical ethics from Brown University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Newman was a 2011-2013 Edmond J. Safra Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, addressing the issue of institutional corruption.
Daniel Newman is available for speeches, seminars, workshops and residencies through the MasterMedia Speakers Bureau. Please contact Tony Colao for further information (see below)
Links to Videos
Media appearances by Daniel Newman:
Unrig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy
Macmillan’s World Citizen Comics page:
Statement of Purpose by Daniel Newman
As Election Day 2004 approached, I was buzzing with excitement.
I was fed up with big money controlling government, so I had started a campaign to introduce publicly-funded elections to my city in California so that candidates wouldn’t have to depend on wealthy interests. The law I proposed was on the ballot. I had never run a campaign before and was thrilled at the prospect that when the ballot measure passed, I would have accomplished something significant.
But the measure didn’t pass. I was dejected, feeling like a failure for more than a year. I tormented myself. If only I had reached out to more people. Or made one or two fewer mistakes.
Over the next decade, the Supreme Court ushered in even more money in politics, generating more energy than ever to change our broken system-including momentum for another local effort in my city. My desire for change was just as strong, but I was held back by my past feelings of despair. What if I attempted another campaign and it lost?
I realized I needed to separate my success as a person from the success of the campaign. My job was to make the best effort I could, regardless of the outcome. That new humility, in the face of the uncertainty of politics, allowed me to try again. And in 2016, we won! The new unrigged system became part of the city’s constitution.
For the last 15 years, I’ve run a national organization, MapLight, dedicated to fix our broken democracy. I’ve learned about the solutions that are helping our democracy work for everyone and met the people making these changes happen. Unfortunately, these success stories are mostly absent from the media and from other books. I wrote Unrig to show that change is not only possible, but that it is already happening.
This may come as a surprise, given my profession, but I don’t love reading books about democracy. Too often they are dry and pessimistic. I wanted to write a book that I would be excited to read myself. That’s why I wrote a graphic novel. Unrig is fast-paced, with art by George O’Connor that’s engaging and fun. It’s a comic book written for adults. It covers the biggest concepts in our democracy, meticulously researched, with unprecedented clarity.
My personal mission is to fix our democracy because it’s the key lever of change to make America work for everyone. I hope that Unrig will bring you insight and inspiration.
Praise for Daniel Newman, Author
Political activist Newman presents an enlightening and alarming—but ultimately hopeful—take on the causes of what he sees as America’s ailing democracy and offers strategies to repair the damage. He breaks down the ways in which corporations and “dark money” influence political candidates and electoral outcomes: “The rules let politicians choose their voters, instead of the other way around.” …This cogent plea for democracy is fueled with an urgency that should initiate debate and inspire action.
Publishers Weekly, May 2020
Unrig is, simply, the unmissable book. Daniel Newman—a national treasure and a tireless defender of democracy—explains in graphic style and easy-to-follow language, how democracy’s tools are made ‘boring’ and opaque on purpose—how the system undermines candidates who just want to serve the people—and, most inspiringly of all, what we can all do to fix this. Should be required reading (and luckily, it’s engaging, powerful reading) for every student and every citizen. Naomi Wolf, bestselling author of The Beauty Myth and The End of America
By clearly illustrating the toughest problems that threaten our system of government, Unrig has the potential to be this generation’s most influential book on American democracy. It is a must read.
Spencer Overton, Professor of Law, The George Washington University and author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression
Everyone knows that our democracy is broken, but what’s less clear is how we got into this mess and what we should do about it. Newman’s Unrig explains both in an accessible and entertaining way, leaving the reader equipped and inspired to get involved in unrigging our democracy and putting it to work for people and the planet.
Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
Can a graphic novel save America from the billionaires and giant corporations that have hijacked our democracy? Thanks to Daniel G. Newman and George O’Connor the answer is an emphatic “YES!” But only if enough of us read this great new book and take action.
John Sellers, co-founder of The Other 98%
The struggle for reform must be waged in every language — including the most fun! This brilliant book explains the need and urgency for reform powerfully and with great insight.
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law professor and bestselling author of Republic, Lost
Daniel Newman and George O’Connor’s gripping account of the battles to fix our democracy paints a graphic picture of this ongoing struggle. This informative and inspiring must-read spotlights the movement of modern-day American patriots on the front lines of the fight to save our democracy.
Greg Moore, former Executive Director, NAACP National Voter Fund
An urgent gem of a graphic novel. A smart, fun, artful guide to how government got so broken and—even more important—how we can fix our ailing democracy so that it finally works for all the people. Read Unrig asap!
Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
Fixing our country’s most pressing issues is going to require working together. Unrig is not only fun and clarifying, it highlights opportunities to improve our democracy that people from across the political spectrum can get behind. That is exciting!
Joan Blades, co-founder, MoveOn.org, LivingRoomConversations.org, and MomsRising.org
Unrig is entertaining, alarming, and actionable as it diagnoses the pressing problems in our democracy. The unique combination of understandable explanations and powerful art make Unrig a one-of-a-kind tool to improve our country. Anyone who wants a more accountable and responsive government, while having fun along the way, should read this book.
Ann Ravel, former Chair, Federal Election Commission
The most fundamental issue in politics today is the institutional (and legal!) corruption that plagues the electoral system. With their engaging, entertaining, and enlightening graphic novel, Unrig, Daniel Newman and George O’Connor transform this abstract subject into compelling real-world stories—and give us dramatic and inspiring tales of champions of democracy fighting for and implementing practical solutions. It’s a great read—with important lessons for any citizen who gives a damn.
David Corn, Washington bureau chief, Mother Jones
Daniel Newman gives us a solidly researched look at our governing system, its myriad broken parts and ways those parts might be fixed. His insights and George O’Connor’s upbeat art make the situation seem surprisingly un-grim.
Peter Overby, former Power, Money and Influence Correspondent for National Public Radio
Unrig powerfully demonstrates the potential of a graphic novel format for teaching citizens about the flaws in our democracy and equipping them to be an active part of the solution. Lucid, entertaining, and compelling.
Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow at Brookings and co-author of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks
I love it—stories of real citizens making historic change. Unrig enables readers to move from the notion of “dutiful” citizen to taste the excitement of becoming a democracy hero. Yes. I’m hooked!
Frances Moore Lappé, bestselling author of Diet for a Small Planet and co-author of Daring Democracy
Unrig shines a critical spotlight on the far-reaching negative results of our current democratic dysfunction, from the ways we fund our elections to the ways district maps are drawn. But Newman doesn’t stop there: By interweaving inspiring, concrete stories of civic action and democratic reform in states and cities across the country, Unrig ultimately provides an urgent blueprint for placing American democracy back into the hands of the voters.
Trevor Potter, Founder and President, Campaign Legal Center and former Chair, Federal Election Commission
For Americans exhausted by negative news headlines, partisan battles, and empty promises from elected officials, Unrig is a breath of fresh air. It offers a vivid, clarifying look at our democracy’s challenges and shares inspiring stories of Americans making our government work for everyone.
Melanie Sloan, former Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Daniel Newman is one of the leading advocates fighting back against the flood of unlimited, undisclosed money in our elections. In Unrig, he skillfully explains the crises plaguing our political system and lays out the solutions that will reinvigorate our democracy.
Tiffany Muller, President, End Citizens United
After nearly three decades of electoral reform work, it’s rare to come across something that feels as entirely fresh as Unrig. It’s both inspiring and educational as it details what’s broken with our democracy and how to fix it clearly and creatively. I can’t wait for the new wave of reformers who are sure to respond to its call for action.
Rob Richie, President and CEO, FairVote
Unrig is a fun and appealing way to explain ways to fix our democracy and electoral system. This graphic novel is entertaining while sharing the context and many of the solutions we need.
Heather Booth, Organizer, Democracy Partners
Topics/Programs Offered by Daniel Newman
1-How To Fix The Broken Systems Of Our Democracy
Overview of the problems that have created a government by the wealthy instead of by the people, the solutions we need, and inspiring stories of activists working to affect change
2-The Outsized Influence Of Money In Politics
Overview of the history of money in politics in the USA and how our broken campaign finance system is playing out today
-3-Online Political Deception: The Latest Threat To Our DemocracyWhat we can do to prevent manipulation of public opinion on social media platforms
Feedback on Daniel Newman, Speaker
“Daniel Newman isn't just one of the smartest minds in the political reform space, but one of the most articulates and thoughtful voices on these issues as well. He's the ideal speaker for a class, keynote, panel discussion, or workshop for any group looking to discover how they can help fix a broken political system.”
Dan Schur, professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and the University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Government Studies
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