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
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