ISBN-10:
0674012135
ISBN-13:
9780674012134
Pub. Date:
09/15/2003
Publisher:
Harvard
Conflict of Interest in American Public Life

Conflict of Interest in American Public Life

by Andrew StarkAndrew Stark

Paperback

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Overview

Ranging over a wide array of cases, Andrew Stark draws on legal, moral, and political thought—as well as the rhetoric of officeholders and the commentary of journalists—to analyze several decades of debate over conflict of interest in American public life. He offers new ways of interpreting the controversies about conflict of interest, explains their prominence in American political combat, and suggests how we might make them less venomous and intractable.

Stark shows that over the past forty years public opinion has shifted steadily toward an objective conception of conflict: instead of considering case-by-case motivations, we have adopted broadly prophylactic rules barring a variety of circumstances with no regard for whether individuals facing those circumstances would be moved in culpable ways. At the same time, we have shifted toward a subjective conception of interest: where we once focused narrowly on money, we now inquire into various commitments individuals might pursue in ways that could impair their judgment.

In exploring the consequences of these twin migrations—the passage of "conflict" from a subjective to an objective understanding; the transformation of "interest" from an objective to a subjective conception—the author aims to make our debates over public ethics less vexatious for officials, and more lucid for citizens.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674012134
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/15/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.69(w) x 8.88(h) x (d)

About the Author

Andrew Stark is Professor of Strategic Management and Political Science, University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

I Conflict

1. The Perils of Prophylactic Law

2. The Topography of Conflict

3. Self-Dealing

4. Undue Influence

5. Abuse of Office

6. Private Payment for Public Acts

7. Private Gain from Public Office

8. The Revolving Door: I

9. The Revolving Door: II

Summary

II Interest

10. Interest, Bias, and Ideology

11. Limousine Liberals, Country-Club Conservatives

12. On Character in American Politics

13. Self-Generated versus Other-Imposed Encumbrances on Judgment

14. Quid Pro Quo and Campaign Finance

15. Spousal Interests

16. Combination of Roles and Ex Parte Contacts

17. Hold the Interest, Vary the Role

18. De Minimis

Summary

III Appearances

19. The Meaning of "The Appearance of Official Impropriety"

20. The Legalistic Attack on the Appearance Standard

21. The Political Justification for the Appearance Standard

IV Remedies

22. Recusal, Divestiture, Balance, and Disclosure

23. What Is a Balanced Committee?

24. Disclosure and Its Discontents

Conclusion

Notes

Index

What People are Saying About This

Government officials are rightly held to high ethical standards because of their visibility, and hence their potential for teaching good or bad lessons about morality. Andrew Stark's book makes an important contribution to our thinking through the ethical issues at stake in crafting judgments and policies in this area.

Steven Kelman

Government officials are rightly held to high ethical standards because of their visibility, and hence their potential for teaching good or bad lessons about morality. Andrew Stark's book makes an important contribution to our thinking through the ethical issues at stake in crafting judgments and policies in this area.
Steven Kelman, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Don Herzog

An arrestingly original interpretation of conflict of interest. Stark earns his theory the hard way, the right way: he immerses himself in legal decisions, political conflicts, bureaucratic policy memos, you name it. Working from the ground up, he offers an elegant structure full of novel and mischievous insights. The book belongs on the shelves of lawyers, politicians, and journalists--it represents a powerful new way of working on ethics and policy.
Don Herzog, University of Michigan Law School

Customer Reviews