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Zephyr Teachout’s Book: Corruption

New Yorkers know that Zephyr Teachout is challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo for Governor in the primary next week.

corruptionThat challenge is linked to her book – – – entitled simply Corruption – – – just published by Harvard University Press.

Here’s a bit from the publisher’s description:

When Louis XVI presented Benjamin Franklin with a snuff box encrusted with diamonds and inset with the King’s portrait, the gift troubled Americans: it threatened to “corrupt” Franklin by clouding his judgment or altering his attitude toward the French in subtle psychological ways. This broad understanding of political corruption—rooted in ideals of civic virtue—was a driving force at the Constitutional Convention.

For two centuries the framers’ ideas about corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear rules governing voters, civil officers, and elected officials. Should a law that was passed by a state legislature be overturned because half of its members were bribed? What kinds of lobbying activity were corrupt, and what kinds were legal? When does an implicit promise count as bribery? 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.

Interestingly the New York Times did not endorse Teachout because her focus on corruption made her too narrow, but it did not endorse Cuomo, seemingly because his focus on corruption was not sufficient.  Teachout’s running mate, also a law professor, did garner the NYT endorsement.  (more, with links, here).