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Public Corruption & the Law

Enforcement of anti-corruption laws has spiked in recent years, both in the United States and around the world. Governments at all levels have increased legal and investigative resources to address both public officials who accept bribes in exchange for official actions, and those who pay the bribes. Nevertheless, the ongoing series of high-profile convictions suggests that corruption continues unabated. This course will explore U.S. and international laws concerning corruption and analyze whether these laws have achieved a deterrent effect. Specifically, we will examine U.S. laws and precedent on bribery and honest services fraud, ranging from local examples including recent Illinois governors to the international corporate bribery criminalized by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; analogous caselaw in other common law jurisdictions, including India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom; and multilateral treaties such as the OECD Anti-Corruption Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Special attention will be paid to the roles of corruption in the Arab Spring and anti-corruption activists, including investigative journalists and NGOs. Evaluation Method: Oral presentations; exams Class Materials: Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo (paperback version available for purchase at Abbott Hall); all other material available on class Blackboard site.


Catalog Number: CONPUB 726


Course History

Fall 2013
Title: Public Corruption & the Law
Faculty: Sorensen, Juliet (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 20