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Harvard Law Review Forum

Corruption, Clients, and Political Machines

Responding to Samuel Issacharoff, Comment, On Political Corruption, 124 Harv. L. Rev. 118 (2010)

In his comment on political corruption, Professor Samuel Issacharoff questions traditional accounts that aim to squeeze money out of politics entirely. Instead, he focuses on the danger that political spending will promote private influence over government policy. In this response, Professor Stephen E. Sachs argues that “private influence” is itself too broad a category to control, and that campaign finance policy should be restricted to a more manageable scope. Professor Sachs argues that if protecting the government from private influence is too diffuse a goal, we can at least attempt to protect the government from itself, by ensuring that it does not channel public resources into self-sustaining political machines.