“What is corruption, how should we define it, and why is it bad?” This is the question put to the panel organized by Fordham Law and featuring key theorists about corruption and equality, all of them on the reform side. It is available on video and well worth watching. Rick Hasen has already reported that he and Larry Lessig came to a sort of detente – – coming closer, he said, “than we ever have before” on the role of money. This is an understatement. By the time they were done, Lessig, champion of a theory of “dependence corruption”, and Hasen, vigorous exponent of a theory of political equality, agreed that they might be talking about roughly the same thing. Somewhat more on her own was Zephyr Teachout, who argued eloquently for a morality-based view of corruption centrally concerned with shoring up civic culture.
This conference may have signaled the beginning of the end of the emphasis in leading reform scholarship on “corruption”, at least in the sense in which it has dominated the debate for decades. The difference between Lessig’s position and Hasen’s is “semantic”, as Hasen now sees it, and Professor Lessig does not appear to disagree. Quid pro quo corruption is not Professor Lessig’s primary concern. In fact, he told the conference that when he meets with Members of Congress, he finds them generally to be well-motivated—good men and women, as the saying goes, caught up in a bad system.
Full Article: Rethinking “Corruption” in Campaign Finance Reform Circles –.