From outright vote-buying to selling preferential access, corruption of the political process has a corrosive effect on democracies around the world. Policymakers in the United States and around the world have employed legal regimes and oversight mechanisms to ensure free and fair elections and impartial conduct in public office, but most of the efforts have been problematic. Two essential elements of reform—transparency and disclosure—are not widespread, and where they are, attempts to circumvent them are raising concerns.
This Brookings/Transparency International symposium will convene leading governmental and nongovernmental experts to examine these issues and their impact in the United States and abroad. The first panel will discuss the meaning of political corruption and the status of legal and regulatory reforms. Participants in the second panel will address the impact of corruption on the American political system, including the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and how it affects disclosure and transparency, and whether and how the Federal Election Commission can be strengthened.
Panel One: Global Political Corruption
Chair: Nancy Zucker Boswell, Managing Director, Transparency International-USA
Peter Eigen, Chairman, Transparency International
Michael Johnson, Professor of Political Science, Colgate University
Gene Ward, Senior Advisor, Political Finance, USAID
Panel Two: Political Corruption and Campaign Finance Reform in the United States
Chair: Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair, The Brookings Institution
Bradley Smith, Chairman, Federal Election Commission
Charles Kolb, President, Committee for Economic Development
Charles Lewis, Executive Director, Center for Public Integrity
Larry Noble, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics