Document Type


Publication Title

Cornell Law Review

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Corruption, Quid Pro Quo, Integrity, elections


There is a structural anti-corruption principle, akin to federalism or the separation-of-powers principle, embedded in the Constitution. The Constitution was designed, in large part, to protect against corruption. This structural principle - like the other structural principles - should inform how judges "do" modern political process cases. This paper documents the corruption concerns at the Constitutional convention in detail. It then examines how the modern Supreme Courts' conception of corruption is fractured and ahistorical, and has led to an incoherent jurisprudence. Instead of starting with Buckley v. Valeo, as so many modern cases do, the Court should return to the founding purposes and recognize that corruption has constitutional weight.