Zephyr Teachout on suing Trump, fighting corruption, and breaking monopolies

Tuesday 13 June 2017
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Zephyr Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University, the author of <em>Corruption in America</em>, one of the lead lawyers in the emoluments case that’s been brought against Donald Trump, and a former gubernatorial and congressional candidate.<br><br><br>Which is all to say that Teachout is someone who knows a lot about political corruption, and so we dive deep into that topic in this podcast.<br><br><br>We talk about how political corruption was defined by the Founding Fathers, and why, during the Constitutional Convention, they discussed the threat posed by corruption more than they discussed the threat posed by foreign invasion. And we talk about the way today’s Supreme Court — in the <em>Citizens United</em> and related decisions — has narrowed the definition to be almost meaningless. <br><br><br>Teachout is also one of the lead lawyers in the case being brought against Trump on his foreign profits and gifts — “emoluments” that, arguably, are unconstitutional. We go through that lawsuit — and its prospects and potential remedies — in some detail.<br><br><br>We also dig into the role monopolies and related concentrations of industry power are playing in American life — this is an increasingly influential argument on today’s left, and Teachout does a nice job here explaining why.<br><br><br>Finally, we talk a lot about an issue that I think today’s politicians wildly underestimate in importance: not corruption itself, but the appearance of corruption, and the way it’s rotting the public’s faith in the political system. How do you solve that? What are the possible unintended consequences of the solutions that get proposed?<br><br><br>As they say, all that and more!<br><br><br>Books:<br><br><br><em>Middlemarch</em> by George Eliot <br><br><em>The Gilded Age</em>&nbsp; by Mark Twain<br><br><em>All the King’s Men</em> by Robert Penn Warren

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