Due to public scorn after the unraveling of the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act’s restrictions on political contributions and expenditures. Buckley v. Valeo established that no legitimate government interest existed to justify restrictions on campaign expenditures, and only the prevention of corruption or the appearance of corruption could justify restrictions on campaign contributions. Since then, the Court has struggled to articulate a definition of corruption that balances First Amendment protections with the potential for improper influence. This Article argues that the Court’s current definition of corruption is too narrow, and proposes a flexible definition dependent on the speaker. Furthermore, this Article advocates for the acknowledgment of additional governmental interests as legitimate. Adopting a broader definition of corruption and considering additional interests will placate public fears without infringing on important speech rights.
When Rhetoric Obscures Reality: The Definition of Corruption and Its Shortcomings,
48 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 597
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol48/iss3/3