This article was originally published in The Hill.
Redefining bribery would go a long way toward preventing campaign contributions from corrupting our political system. This could be achieved by limiting what contributors can gain in exchange for their donations rather than by adding or restoring limitations on the amounts they can donate. In this way, the suggested reform would avoid falling afoul of Supreme Court rulings that treat donations as a form of speech and hence deem most limitations on donations to be unconstitutional.
Better yet, the Court has already indicated that it favors a focus on corruption rather than on donations. The Court has repeatedly recognized that the “[g]overnment has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combatting corruption and its appearance.” In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014), the Court stated that “disclosure of contributions minimizes the potential for abuse of the campaign finance system [and] may also ‘deter actual corruption and avoid the appearance of corruption by exposing large contributions and expenditures to the light of publicity.’” This raises the question of what constitutes corruption.
To continue reading, click here.