Corruption in America

A Conversation with Zephyr Teachout

In the wake of an election that cost $3.6 billion, and in which “dark money” groups played a decisive role, there is little doubt that our democracy is corrupted by the power of money. But the Supreme Court has left us with such a narrow definition of “corruption” that we’re almost crippled in the effort to do something about it.

In her new book, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United, Zephyr Teachout – a law professor and recently a candidate for governor of New York – shows not only that through all of American history, corruption has been broader and more complicated than the Supreme Court admits, but also that our Founders fully understood all the dangers that could flow from a political system that was unduly influenced by money and economic inequality. Corruption in America has been lauded by The Wall Street Journal as “a masterly work of scholarship,” and in The New York Review of Books, David Cole called it “an eloquent, revealing, and sometimes surprising historical inquiry, [that] convincingly argues that corruption, broadly understood as placing private interests over the public good in public office, is at the root of what ails American democracy.”

Teachout, a professor of law at Fordham Law School and a New America fellow in 2013-2014, also ran a surprisingly successful campaign in the 2014 New York gubernatorial primary. Join us on November 13 for a wide-ranging discussion of her book and her perspective on corruption and money in politics as an activist and a candidate.

Follow the discussion online using #CorruptionInAmerica and following @NewAmerica.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.


Zephyr Teachout
Author, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United
Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University

Mark Schmitt
Director of the Political Reform Program at New America