I began writing Coining Corruption: The Making of the American Campaign Finance System in graduate school at the University of Virginia. Always concerned about American politics and the system, I came to the conclusion that money played an important, even instrumental role in getting the political message to voters. Money in politics is necessary for open deliberation, to enthuse voters, to win support for political views and positions. Yet, watching the congressional debates over BCRA, I came to the conclusion that neither the proponents nor opponents of campaign finance reform had a clear understanding of what kind of corruption they intended to attack. My book explores the history of the campaign finance system, and particularly how legislators, courts, parties and political activists defined, "coined" so to speak, the nature of political corruption from the beginnings of the modern system in 1876 to the present day.
I intend to use this blog to engage readers, critics, reform proponents and opponents, and others interested in the conclusions that I have drawn from my research and writing. Democratic deliberation and debate, to be effective, demands that we engage different ideas on the open field of battle, that we share our views, and patiently listen and learn from others with whom we may differ. So, with the publication of Coining Corruption, let the debate, disagreement, and discussion begin. I can't wait.