The Appearance and the Reality of Quid Pro Quo Corruption: An Empirical Investigation

65 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2016 Last revised: 14 Feb 2017

Christopher T. Robertson

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

D. Alex Winkelman

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Darren Modzelewski

University of Arizona

Kelly Bergstrand

University of Texas at Arlington - Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Date Written: May 2016

Abstract

The Supreme Court says that campaign finance regulations are unconstitutional unless they target "quid pro quo" corruption or its appearance. To test those appearances, we fielded two studies. First, in a highly realistic simulation, three grand juries deliberated on charges that a campaign spender bribed a Congressperson. Second, 1271 representative online respondents considered whether to convict, with five variables manipulated randomly. In both studies, jurors found quid pro quo corruption for behaviors they believed to be common. This research suggests that Supreme Court decisions were wrongly decided and that Congress and the states have greater authority to regulate campaign finance. Prosecutions for bribery raise serious problems for the First Amendment, due process, and separation of powers. Safe harbors may be a solution.

Keywords: quid pro quo, campaign finance regulations, grand jury, bribery, corruption, empirical, simulation, safe harbors

Suggested Citation

Robertson, Christopher T. and Winkelman, D. Alex and Modzelewski, Darren and Bergstrand, Kelly, The Appearance and the Reality of Quid Pro Quo Corruption: An Empirical Investigation (May 2016). Journal of Legal Analysis (2016); Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 16-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2740615

Christopher T. Robertson (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/getprofile.cfm?facultyid=714

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

D. Alex Winkelman

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Darren Modzelewski

University of Arizona ( email )

Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

Kelly Bergstrand

University of Texas at Arlington - Department of Sociology and Anthropology ( email )

Box 19599 / 430 University Hall
601 S. Nedderman Drive
Arlington, TX 76019
United States

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