Corruption, Pollution, and Politics

41 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2007


Most campaign finance reforms target the alleged corruption attending money in the political and legislative process. Elizabeth Drew supports such measures in her book The Corruption of American Politics. In this review, I argue that Drew's complaints are exaggerated, or unsupported by the actual available evidence. Indeed, the evidence of the corrupting influence of money is surprisingly difficult to document. But the idea of "pollution" provides an alternative lens for examining campaign finance problems. First suggested by D.C. Circuit Judge J. Skelly Wright, the notion of money polluting the campaign and electoral process provides access to the rich set of regulatory tools created by environmental law. The lessons of environmental regulation may prove to be more effective in addressing the real concerns about money in the electoral process.

Keywords: campaign finance, corruption, pollution, politics, elections, J. Skelly Wright, John McCain

Suggested Citation

Nagle, John Copeland, Corruption, Pollution, and Politics. Yale Law Journal, Vol. 110, p. 293, 2000; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 07-08. Available at SSRN:

John Copeland Nagle (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics