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McDonnell and anti-corruption's last stand

McDonnell and anti-corruption's last stand
McDonnell and anti-corruption's last stand
In McDonnell v. United States, the Supreme Court constrained the reach of federal anti-corruption law, declared the inevitability and even desirability of representatives aggrandizing favored constituents, and asserted patronage to be a hallmark of democracy. The unanimous decision is the latest and clearest indication that the Court will frustrate regulations that require officials to discharge their roles with disinterested neutrality. This article demonstrates the impact of the Court’s minimalist view of integrity through political philosophy and game theory. Given the Court’s hostility to regulatory prohibition of self-interested political behavior, the final bulwark of public-minded governance is the electorate, which must use the ballot box to reject corrupt representatives. Additionally, the Court’s position erects significant obstacles for campaign finance progressives and advocates for institutional political reform. The article concludes that implementing civic anti-corruption requires either jurisprudential innovation or novel approaches to enforcement. This article thereby integrates the history of modern anti-corruption law with the latest leading decision on the topic, weaves together the Court’s blackletter doctrine with its substantive politics, describes the impact of the law on democratic governance, and points the way forward for both scholarship and policy.
1619-1672
Eisler, Jacob
a290dee3-c42f-4ede-af9a-5ede55d0135a
Eisler, Jacob
a290dee3-c42f-4ede-af9a-5ede55d0135a

Eisler, Jacob (2017) McDonnell and anti-corruption's last stand. UC Davis Law Review, 50 (4), 1619-1672.

Record type: Article

Abstract

In McDonnell v. United States, the Supreme Court constrained the reach of federal anti-corruption law, declared the inevitability and even desirability of representatives aggrandizing favored constituents, and asserted patronage to be a hallmark of democracy. The unanimous decision is the latest and clearest indication that the Court will frustrate regulations that require officials to discharge their roles with disinterested neutrality. This article demonstrates the impact of the Court’s minimalist view of integrity through political philosophy and game theory. Given the Court’s hostility to regulatory prohibition of self-interested political behavior, the final bulwark of public-minded governance is the electorate, which must use the ballot box to reject corrupt representatives. Additionally, the Court’s position erects significant obstacles for campaign finance progressives and advocates for institutional political reform. The article concludes that implementing civic anti-corruption requires either jurisprudential innovation or novel approaches to enforcement. This article thereby integrates the history of modern anti-corruption law with the latest leading decision on the topic, weaves together the Court’s blackletter doctrine with its substantive politics, describes the impact of the law on democratic governance, and points the way forward for both scholarship and policy.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 October 2016
Published date: April 2017
Additional Information: University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 41/2016

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423443
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423443
PURE UUID: 6346af1d-2ad7-4197-b8fd-cb4fdaf1b784
ORCID for Jacob Eisler: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4422-5255

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Sep 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Jun 2019 00:21

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