For two centuries, the Framers' ideas about political corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear rules governing voters, civil officers, and elected officials. In the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court began to narrow the definition of corruption, and the meaning has since changed dramatically. No case makes that clearer than Citizens United.
In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, Citizens United was not just bad law but bad history.
Corruption in America clearly shows that if the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.
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"Bribery, expensive gifts, and under-the-table deals--Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and other Founding Fathers knew the road to self-government and democracy was full of moral potholes and debated the subject and definition of political corruption vigorously. Jo Anna Perrin narrates this timely, fascinating commentary/history, with its sometimes necessarily legalistic-sounding prose and concepts, with great clarity and a keen sense of purpose. Perrin's voice reflects the urgency in the author's persuasive argument that the Supreme Court's landmark decisions in Citizens United (2010) and McCutcheon (2014), which opened the floodgates to almost unlimited political campaign spending, should be revisited, vigorously debated, and realigned with the Founders' intentions. B.P. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine"
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