Breaking Down “The Scheme” with Author Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

A panel discussion on dark money in politics with Sen. Whitehouse, Dr. Michael Mann, and Dr. Joseph S. Francisco with moderation by Dr. Kathleen D. Morrison.
*there is limited seating, but this will be livestreamed so guests may attend virtually*

Event Summary

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is known for his progressive politics and a vocal champion for climate change policy in government. He has been known to reach across the aisle to work with folks like James Inhofe on grants for small manufacturers on workforce training; or Roger Wicker on legislation that clamps down on laundering money through U.S. financial system. Following his book Captured on corporate capture of regulatory and government agencies, and his years of experience as a prosecutor, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse here turns his attention to the right-wing scheme to capture the courts, and how it influenced the Trump administration’s appointment of over 230 “business-friendly” judges, including the last three justices of the United States Supreme Court. This will be a panel discussion on dark money in politics with Sen. Whitehouse, Dr. Michael Mann, and Dr. Joseph Francisco with moderation by Dr. Kathleen D. Morrison. A book signing with Sheldon Whitehouse will follow the panel discussion and books will be available for purchase on site.


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has served as his state’s United States Attorney and as the state Attorney General, as well as its top business regulator. He has earned a reputation in the Senate as a fierce advocate for progressive values and a thoughtful legislator capable of reaching across the aisle to achieve bipartisan solutions. Senator Whitehouse has been at the center of bipartisan efforts to pass laws overhauling federal education policy, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, reforming the criminal and juvenile justice systems, protecting Americans from toxic chemicals in everyday products, and addressing ocean plastic waste. The author of Captured and The Scheme (both from The New Press), he lives in Newport, Rhode Island.
Dr. Michael Mann is Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. His research focuses on climate science and climate change. He was selected by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002, was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geophysical Union in 2012. He made Bloomberg News‘ list of fifty most influential people in 2013.  He has received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education, the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate, the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the AAAS, the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union and the Leo Szilard Award of the American Physical Society. He received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2019 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2020. He is a Fellow of the AGU, AMS, GSA, AAAS and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is co-founder of, author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and five books including Dire Predictions, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, The Madhouse Effect, The Tantrum that Saved the World, and The New Climate War.
Dr. Joseph S. Francisco is President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and co-chair of the Penn Environmental Initiative (EII).. He was the president of the American Chemical Society from 2009-2010. He is currently a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2010 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In his research, Prof. Francisco has applied new tools from theoretical chemistry to atmospheric chemical problems to enhance our understanding of chemistry in the atmosphere at the molecular level. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983, and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977.


Dr. Kathleen Morrison is Chair of the Department of Anthropology and the Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor of Anthropology and co-chair of the Penn Environmental Initiative (EII). Her research is focused on governing regimes, agricultural change, and their environmental impacts in the Deccan Plateau of South India. Her books include Daroji Valley: Landscape History, Place, and the Making of a Dryland Reservoir System, The Vijayanagara Metropolitan Survey, and Fields of Victory: Vijayanagara and the Course of Intensification. Prof. Morrison earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992, her M.A. from the University of the New Mexico in 1987, and her B.A. From the University of Notre Dame 1984.