Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

Twenty years in the New Jersey legislature, and many more years of activity in local, county, and state politics, gave me a thorough understanding of how government in New Jersey works. And the picture has not been pretty.
This is not to say that all officials are miscreants and that all government...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xvi

I wish to acknowledge the help of numerous friends, family members, associates, and professionals who gave of their time and talents in the production of this book. The finished product would never have emerged in its present form without their assistance.
Although it is difficult—and perhaps...

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1. Soft Corruption—The Problem

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pp. 1-16

A wealthy sculptor with family problems makes generous campaign contributions in the hope of influencing legislators to enact a law that will help him stop his daughter from receiving a share of the family inheritance. He nearly succeeds. A state legislator dips into his publicly funded...

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2. Campaign Financing: How It Works

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pp. 17-52

Money’s most important function in politics is to win elections. Money buys media exposure, direct mail, consulting services, and foot soldiers for getting out the vote on Election Day, all of which are key to electoral success. Outspending the opponent does not guarantee...

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3. Campaign Financing: The New Jersey Version

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pp. 53-76

How New Jersey first came to have any campaign contribution limits at all is a tale worth telling, both because it is a great political story and because it explains how the state’s political powers ensure that New Jersey’s campaign financing laws always have loopholes...

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4. Lobbying

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pp. 77-94

Had Unruh, former Speaker of the California legislature, said “If you can’t eat [lobbyists’] food, drink their booze, accept their campaign contributions and political help, and then vote against them, you have no business being up here,” he would have come a little closer to the mark...

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5. Conflict of Interest

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pp. 95-118

Many officeholders behave as if their positions entitle them to receive government benefits not usually available to the general public. Common Cause reported a classic case about a Maryland state senator who was in the business of selling alcoholic beverages. In 1973, the Maryland...

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6. Patronage: Jobs, Contracts, Perks

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pp. 119-162

If money is the mother’s milk that nurtures political parties, patronage is what holds them together. The quest for jobs and other perks is a primary factor that attracts people to party organizations, and they in turn provide the political muscle to win elections and maintain...

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7. The Electoral Process

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pp. 163-182

These foreboding words about the power over elected officials held by a behind-the- scenes political boss are almost as true today in many parts of New Jersey as they were more than a century ago. The electoral process can be legally bent in a variety of ways to favor the interests of...

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8. Agenda for Reform

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pp. 183-220

As the preceding chapters have demonstrated, New Jersey government at every level has been compromised by soft corruption—the use of political subterfuge, nonetheless legal, to achieve government results that work against the public interest. Now that we have a wide-ranging...

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9. How to Achieve Reform

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pp. 221-236

The preceding chapters have demonstrated the prevalence of soft corruption in New Jersey. The problems are real, and there is no sign that things are getting better. The task of remedying ethical challenges in New Jersey government will be long and daunting. What makes...

Notes

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pp. 237-266

Index

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pp. 267-296

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About the Author

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pp. 297-298

William E. Schluter, longtime crusader for ethics and government reform, served as a Republican state senator and assemblyman during two stints in the New Jersey legislature, from 1968 to 1974 and from 1987 to 2002. He sponsored laws to regulate lobbying and disclosure of campaign contributions...