About Professor Malbin
Michael J. Malbin has been a University at Albany Professor of Political Science since 1990, having arrived here after seventeen years as a reporter, think tank scholar and government appointee in Washington, D.C. One consistent thread to his work has been the dynamics of institutional change and reform. To some extent, that interest grew serendipitously. He had the professional good luck of landing in Washington, with new PhD in hand (Cornell, 1973), just as the Watergate hearings were being played out on Capitol Hill. As a result, his earlier publications focused on congressional reform, party reform and congressional staffing – along with what has become an abiding interest in the role of money in politics. Since 1999 he has been able to pursue this last line of research as director of The Campaign Finance Institute in Washington. This has included a multi-year project on the role of small donors in federal and state elections. A recent strand of that research looks at the interactions between donating and volunteering, asking whether the evolving role of the Internet should alter our views of citizen participation in elections.
Professor Malbin's teaching has emphasized legislative politics and elections. He also runs the department's Semester in Washington program for advanced undergraduate students during the spring.
His books include three that examine how campaign finance laws passed as reforms work out in practice. These include (1) The Election after Reform: Money, Politics and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (editor and co-author, 2006); (2) Life after Reform: When the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act Meets Politics (editor and co-author, 2003); and (3) The Day after Reform: Sobering Campaign Finance Lessons from the American States (co-authored by Thomas L. Gais, 1998). He is also co-author with Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann of the award-winning biennial book, Vital Statistics on Congress (a 2013 edition of which is available online for free download) and he was principal investigator for Presidential-Congressional Relations in a collaborative, multi-university project that created the much used congressional history database.
Malbin's positions before Albany were as a reporter for National Journal, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Associate Director of the (U.S.) House Republican Conference and Speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense. Since coming here he has concurrently been a presidential appointee to the National Humanities Council, guest scholar at The Brookings Institution, and a visiting Professor at Yale University.