Spencer.Overton

Speaker Profile

Spencer Overton

Spencer Overton is the fourth President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  The Joint Center--founded in 1970 as a think tank to support black elected officials--faced a fiscal crisis when Spencer became the leader in early 2014. Spencer spent 18 months resolving these challenges. The Joint Center is now debt-free and growing, and under Spencer's leadership has restarted programming. The Joint Center now supports innovative elected officials and policy experts who serve communities of color. Click here for an overview of recent Joint Center activities. Spencer is also a tenured Professor of Law at George Washington University, where he teaches and writes on voting rights and campaign finance. He is the author of the book Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression and several academic and popular articles on campaign finance, including Matching Political Contributions, Minnesota Law Review (2012); The Participation Interest, Georgetown Law Journal (2012); But Some are More Equal: Race, Exclusion, and Campaign Finance, Texas Law Review (2002); Racial Disparities and the Political Function of Property, UCLA Law Review (2002); Voices from the Past: Race, Privilege, and Campaign Finance, North Carolina Law Review (2001); Fannie Lou Hamer Wouldn't Like This, Los Angeles Times (Mar. 29, 2001); and Reform for the Rest of America, Washington Post (May 10, 2001). Spencer has worked on campaign finance in various capacities. He served as a board member of the Center for Responsive Politics, Common Cause, Demos, the Fannie Lou Hamer Project (founding board member), and the National Voting Rights Institute. During the 2008 Obama campaign he chaired government reform policy, and during the first term of the Administration Spencer served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy, where he partnered with White House officials to lead the Administration's policy efforts related to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Spencer held several leadership roles on the 2012 Obama National Finance Committee, including teaching fundraising at Obama University and chairing a fundraising program that raised $25 million. Spencer graduated with honors from both Hampton University and Harvard Law School, and he clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith.