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Supreme Court of the United States

Campaign finance

2013

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Defining Corruption And Constitutionalizing Democracy, Deborah Hellman Jun 2013

Defining Corruption And Constitutionalizing Democracy, Deborah Hellman

Michigan Law Review

The central front in the battle over campaign finance laws is the definition of corruption. The Supreme Court has allowed restrictions on the giving and spending of money in connection with elections only when they serve to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption. The constitutionality of such laws, therefore, depends on how the Court defines corruption. Over the years, campaign finance cases have conceived of corruption in both broad and narrow terms, with the most recent cases defining it especially narrowly. While supporters and critics of campaign finance laws have argued for and against these different formulations, both sides …