Citizens United

New Book: <em>Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United</em>. By  Zephyr Teachout

New Book: Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United. By Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United, Harvard University Press 2014. ISBN 9780674050402. 384 pages When Louis XVI presented Benjamin Franklin with a snuff box encrusted with diamonds and inset with the King’s portrait, the gift troubled Americans: it threatened to “corrupt” Franklin by clouding his judgment or altering his attitude toward the French in subtle psychological ways. This broad understanding of political corruption—rooted in ideals of civic virtue—was a driving force at the Constitutional Convention. For two centuries the framers’ ideas about corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear…