“The Judging of Politicians by Judges, Part II: Blagojevich in the Seventh Circuit”

Bauer on Blagojevich:

The Court seems to believe that, where the political trading is for government posts, thecost of public corruption is somehow more limited, more tolerable. It is just a government salary’s worth of political self-dealing. Of course, it is more than that: there is also the question of the quality of administration, of service to the public. Compare that to the purchase of “access” with campaign funds, by which the donor is just offered, for her political support, a chance to make her case, and not everyone would agree on which of the two kinds of trades is more costly.

There also seems to be a belief that the deals politicians cut with each other should be given more room than the deals between politicians and their supporters or donors, because it has always been the “everyday politics” of interactions among politicians that helps the government run.   There is merit in this view, up to a point. So would say the “political realists.” Others, including some of the realists, might worry about a view of public corruption that zeros in on political supporters’ “access” while politicians trade more freely in taxpayer funds and in the services that these taxpayers are supposed to get for the money.

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