Legal but Corrupt

A New Perspective on Public Ethics

Contributions by Guy Adams, Staffan Andersson, Frank Anechiarico, Danny L. Balfour, Ciarán OKelly, Lydia Segal Edited by Frank Anechiarico

Publication date:

09 December 2016

Length of book:

162 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9781498536387

Labeling a person, institution or particular behavior as “corrupt” signals both political and moral disapproval and, in a functioning democracy, should stimulate inquiry, discussion, and, if the charge is well-founded, reform. This book argues, in a set of closely related chapters, that the political community and scholars alike have underestimated the extent of corruption in the United States and elsewhere and thus, awareness of wrong-doing is limited and discussion of necessary reform is stunted. In fact, there is a class of behaviors and institutions that are legal, but corrupt. They are accepted as legitimate by statute and practice, but they inflict very real social, economic, and political damage. This book explains why it is important to identify legally accepted corruption and provides a series of examples of corruption using this perspective.
Legal but Corrupt is a powerful exploration of political corruption on a variety of fronts, and how a range of official behavior, hostile to most reasonable standards of public ethics and damaging to governance, has become normed, accepted, and indeed defended by law and procedure. . . . This collection includes a good range of highly divergent policy and practice environments; this helps to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts, even though the underlying theme is clear. Anechiaricos book shines needed light on areas where public trust has been eroded, and makes a strong case for acting to regain that trust.