Donors: Give — Ok; Get — Not

46 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2016 Last revised: 1 Nov 2017

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: October 13, 2016


The current state of campaign finance laws is undermining the democratic system, yet various limits on the amounts that can be donated were considered by the Supreme Court to violate the First Amendment. This article proposes that instead of focusing on limiting what people can give to politicians seeking office — limiting what they can get in return for their contributions. Cases of mutually-beneficial exchange should be treated as bribery, so long as the benefit applies to the contributor in a discriminatory manner. For this approach to be successful, the current interpretation of quid pro quo corruption needs to be modified.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, Donors: Give — Ok; Get — Not (October 13, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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