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Abstract

Rick Hasen has presented the issue of money in politics as if we have to make a choice: it is either a problem of equality or it is a problem of corruption. Hasen’s long and influential career in this field has been a long and patient struggle to convince those on the corruption side of the fight (we liberals, at least, and, in an important sense, we egalitarians too) to resist the temptation to try to pass—by rendering equality arguments as corruption arguments, and to just come out of the closet. Hasen had famously declared that the corruption argument supporting Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce was a fake and that the only basis for justifying the ban on corporate spending in Austin was equality, not corruption. And the U.S. Supreme Court famously (in our circles at least) agreed, in the process of striking down the ban on corporate spending in Austin and everywhere else. Thus, Hasen argues, it is a fool’s errand to fake the corruption argument. We need instead, Hasen has constantly counseled, a bit of egalitarian pride. Be true to ourselves, Hasen tells us, and give up the pretense of corruption talk.

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