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09/03/2005

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Palooka

"This may clarify the sense, confusing to one of the commenters, in which I used "victimless" to describe the crime of bribery. I placed the word in quotation markets in my original posting as here because there are of course victims. But the victims tend to be members of society at large, none of whom has an incentive to complain to the authorities."

I disagree with the premise that the victims of corruption are not likely to complain. The thing about corruption and bribery is that it is concealed from its victims. If they are unlikely to complain, it is usually because they fear retribution, not because they view the harm done to them or others as insignificant. Does a firm not have incentive to expose a competitor's corrupt arrangements with public officials? Of course they do. Does a defendant denied a fair trial not have incentive to expose a bribe taken by the judge at his trial? Of course he does. Does the general taxpayer not have incentive to eliminate corruption which denies him the best government at the best price? Of course he does!

Jahed

Now that Justice Rehnquist, R.I.P, has passed on, what are the odds on a nomination for Judge Posner? I would love to see that happen, but I'm not sure if Judge Posner is "conservative" enough. Here's to hearing the words "Justice Posner" in the near future.

MikeTheBear

Now that Justice Rehnquist, R.I.P, has passed on, what are the odds on a nomination for Judge Posner? I would love to see that happen, but I'm not sure if Judge Posner is "conservative" enough. Here's to hearing the words "Justice Posner" in the near future.

You beat me to this. May Justice Rehnquist rest in peace; he left quite a history on the Court.

I hereby nominate Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to fill the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Where do we send money?

John David Galt

Enforcing a law against bribery is very similar to enforcing a law against prostitution. In both cases, each of the two favors being exchanged is legal in and of itself; only the quid-pro-quo deal (if it exists, at least in the minds of the parties) that connects the two favors is illegal. Obviously, the parties know this and, if they have any brains, they'll never state the deal in explicit words. Thus, the prosecutor either has to produce a taped conversation and let the jury decide whether it shows that a deal exists; or the police have to impersonate one of the parties in a "sting" to get the other to incriminate himself, thus raising the potential issue of entrapment. (In the case of bribery, there is another problem with the latter method: impersonating a politician may violate the constituent's right to "petition for redress of grievances".)

Thus I must disagree with your contention that a political contribution by a constituent who expects a favor is different in kind from an outright bribe -- unless you would be willing to acquit an accused "john" whose defense amounts to, "I wasn't paying for sex, I just gave that dancer a 'tip' (wink wink, nudge nudge)."

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