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Democracy and Deceit: Regulating Appearances of Corruption

Mark E. Warren
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan., 2006), pp. 160-174
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3694263
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Democracy and Deceit: Regulating Appearances of Corruption
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Abstract

While corruption has long been recognized as an appropriate object of regulation, concern with appearances of corruption is of recent origin, coinciding with declining trust in government in the mid- to late-1960s. The reasoning that would support regulations of appearances, however, remains flawed, as it depends upon a "public trust" model of public service that is incomplete and often misplaced when applied to political representatives. The justification for regulating appearances is unambiguous, however, from the perspective of democratic theory. Democratic institutions of representation depend upon the integrity of appearances, not simply because they are an indication of whether political representatives are upholding their public trust, but because they provide the means through which citizens can judge whether, in particular instances, their trust is warranted. Representatives, institutions, and ethics that fail to support public confidence in appearances disempower citizens by denying them the means for inclusion in public judgments. These failures amount to a corruption of democratic processes.

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