Associate Professor Timothy Kirpal Kuhner

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Associate Professor


Professor Kuhner is known for his critical approach to the law of democracy. His teaching and research focus on anti-corruption law, democratic theory, comparative constitutional law, and torts. His latest book, Tyranny of Greed, examines the origins and effects of Trump's presidency from the perspectives of law, economics, religion, and political science. Kuhner's previous book, Capitalism v. Democracy, exposes systemic corruption in the United States and received critical acclaim from the Harvard Law Review, Thomas Piketty, Lawrence Lessig, Erwin Chemerinsky, and the Law and Politics Book Review. He is also the co-editor of Democracy by the People, a volume on campaign finance reform featuring a number of the world’s leading experts on democratic integrity. Kuhner's many law review articles, essays, and chapters in edited volumes explore the relationship between the law of democracy, economic inequality, and political inequality.

Kuhner has spoken about issues of corruption and political finance at major venues across Europe and North America, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Transparency International UK, the Harvard COOP, the Columbia University Bookstore, and Common Cause. Prior to joining the University of Auckland, Kuhner was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Barcelona, a tenured associate professor at Georgia State University College of Law, a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and a Watson Fellow in Latin America. 

Research | Current


  • Democracy in the Twenty-First Century (under contract, Cambridge University Press)
  • The Separation of Business and State (in progress, Cambridge University Press)
  • Tyranny of Greed: Trump, Corruption, and the Revolution to Come (Stanford University Press, 2020)
  • Democracy by the People: Reforming Campaign Finance in America (edited volume with Eugene Mazo, Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution (Stanford University Press, 2014)

Recent articles and chapters in edited volumes

  • “Corruption, Inequality, and Climate Change: Rethinking Election Law in the Twenty-First Century” in Comparative Election Law, James Gardner, ed. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022)
  • “The Abolition of Class Government” in The Constitution of Social Democracy, Alan Bogg, Jacob Rowbottom, and Alison Young, eds. (Hart Publishing, 2020)
  • “The Third Coming of American Plutocracy: What Campaign Finance Reformers Are Up Against” in Democracy by the People: Reforming Campaign Finance in the United States, Eugene D. Mazo and Timothy K. Kuhner, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • “American Kleptocracy”, 28 King’s Law Journal 201 (2017)
  • “The Market Metaphor, Radicalized”, 16:1 Election Law Journal 96 (2017)
  • Plutocracy and Partyocracy” in Preventing Corruption and Promoting Good Government and Public Integrity, Agustí Cerrillo Martínez and Julio Ponce Solé, eds. (Bruylant, 2017)


Teaching | Current

LawPubl 467: Anti-Corruption Law and Democracy

LawPubl 749: Comparative Constitutional Law

LawGenerl 711: Corruption: Comparative and International Approaches

Law 231: Torts


Postgraduate supervision

I am available to supervise dissertations in the following areas:

  • The law of democracy, including electoral law, the financing of political campaigns and political parties, lobbying, and issues affecting elections (such as foreign interference and social media)
  • Anti-corruption law
  • Comparative constitutional law
  • Human rights law, especially relating to political participation
  • Law and inequality (and matters of law and political economy more generally)
  • Democratic theory


Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School (2019 and 2021)

Fulbright Senior Scholar (U.S. Dept. of State, 2017-2018)

Thomas J. Watson Fellow (1998-1999)


Director, Law Honours Programme

Areas of expertise

Campaign finance and political party financing, anti-corruption law, democratic theory, law and political economy

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member, Postgraduate and International Education Committee

Ethics Advisor, Faculty of Law (2019-2020)

Member, Legal Research Foundation Council

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Kuhner, T. (2017). The market metaphor, radicalized: How a capitalist theology Trumped democracy. Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, 16 (1), 96-131. 10.1089/elj.2016.0402
  • Kuhner, T. K. (2017). The next American revolution. Western New England Law Review, 39 (4), 477-498.
  • Kuhner, T. (2017). American kleptocracy: How to categorise Trump and his government. King's Law Journal, 28 (2), 201-238. 10.1080/09615768.2017.1366156
  • Kuhner, T. K. (2016). The new tyranny: A preface to the 2016 elections in the United States. The World Financial Review
  • Kuhner, T. K. (2016). The corruption of liberal and social democracies. Fordham Law Review, 84 (6), 2453-2476. 10.2139/ssrn.2691048
  • Kuhner, T. K. (2016). Plutocracy and partyocracy: Oligarchies born of constitutional interpretation. Review of Constitutional Studies, 21 (1), 115-142. 10.2139/ssrn.2862442
  • Kuhner, T. K. (2015). American plutocracy. King’s Law Journal, 26 (1), 44-75. 10.1080/09615768.2015.1035127
  • Kuhner, T. K. (2014). Capitalism v. democracy: Money in politics and the free market constitution. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Pages: 377.


Contact details

Primary office location

17 EDEN CRESCENT - Bldg 803
Level 3, Room 321
New Zealand

Web links