The Supreme court has gone out of its way to weaken:
- voting rights for immigrants, native americans, former convicts and black people,
- criminal sanctions on bribery
- ...and to grant a nonsensical cover of "free speech" to bribes, extortion & corruption.
But no matter their rulings, the issue with corruption is and remains an ethical issue of:
- Undue Influence
- Improper Access
So why is that the case? When I started this post I hadn't heard yet Justice Kennedy's announcement that he was retiring in favor of a former Law Clerk, Kavanaugh, and through the influence of his son and Donald Trump. I was going to change this post to talk about it in detail. But in the interest of KISS, I'll finish this one first and put the details somewhere else. I'll come back here and put the references in the post later. The scandal of the Kavanaugh appointment happened, illustrates:
- How improper access and undue influence work.
- Why it is often hard to legislate or prevent.
- Why they are improper, corrupt, corrupting and outrageous
- Why those who are corrupt usually deny it.
Keeping officials on the "up and up" requires fairly clear ethics rules, with statement both of principle and particular prohibitions. This is because unless prohibited many of these actions seem perfectly legal to the corrupt. After all, negotiating a retirement is something every business does!
Undue Influence Definition
"Undue influence" is and has been part of the definition of bribery since the beginning of the country. It's not just a concept for invalidating wills. Laws prohibiting undue influence are not only constitutional they are a time honored principle of legal jurisprudence. It is part of the definition of bribery!
Bribery is defined as when someone:
“directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official...or ...give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent to influence an official act.” [Corrupt Judges]
“Undue influence” is at the heart of our political corruption through improper access and the money power. This connects not only to campaign law but to power and influence in general.