K U R T H O H E N S T E I N . N E T

Coining Corruption: The Making of the American Campaign Finance System
By Kurt Hohenstein
Northern Illinois University Press, September 28 2007
ISBN-10: 0875803776, ISBN-13: 978-0875803777
In the wake of Watergate, Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) in an effort to prevent the corruption of future elections. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Buckley v. Valeo (1976), defined corruption as quid pro quo—“get for giving”—meaning Congress could only regulate the kind of corruption that had occurred if a campaign contributor received political favors from the candidate. This definition has since shaped and limited efforts at campaign finance reform, often with ironic and unintended consequences. By shifting the focus to the source and amount of contributions, the justices in the Buckley decision ignored disparities in funding and the resulting ability of particular candidates to dominate communication channels.

In Coining Corruption, legal and political historian Kurt Hohenstein provides a hitherto untold story about the successes and limitations of political reform. From 1876 until 1976, lawmakers and courts permitted regulation that potentially infringed upon freedom of speech: they understood corruption as the conversion of economic power into political power. In their view, corruption existed if a candidate’s unfettered campaign spending overwhelmed other voices and limited real deliberation. Yet, as Hohenstein shows, Buckley’s limited “quid pro quo” definition ignores these considerations.
Following the evolution of the campaign finance system through the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001 and the Supreme Court’s decisions in McConnell v. FEC (2001) and Landell v. Sorrell
(2006), Hohenstein calls for a return to a broad, historical understanding of corruption. American democracy demands regulation of the sources and amounts of campaign funding in order to prevent a
monopoly on the vehicles of political debate. Those interested in reform politics, public policy, constitutional history, and Congress will appreciate this groundbreaking study.
The Rules of the Game: Simple Truths Learned From Little League
By Kurt Hohenstein
Thomas Nelson Inc, March 1996
ISBN-10: 0785275045, ISBN-13: 978-0785275046

It has often been said that baseball is a metaphor for life- the lessons learned on the ball diamond somehow carry over into the world's playing field. Author Kurt Hohenstein forgot some of those lessons, and Rules of the Game is his story of his forgetting and learning those lessons again.

In a lyrical and nostalgic manner, Hohenstein takes you back to when you were a kid: the reverence you felt for a perfectly manicured ball field, the aroma of leather you smelled in your mitt, and the feeling you had when you connected for a base hit. But while you were learning and playing the game of baseball, you were also learning the game of life.

Naturally, baseball teaches about winning and losing, success and failure. But it also teaches that sometimes you get a bad hop and there is nothing you can do about it; sometimes you get hit with a pitch but you have to get right back in the batter's box your next time up; and sometimes, it teaches you that even the weakest player on the team will have his moment of glory if you let him.

"Little League is much more than a simple game played by young children," Hohenstein says. "The essence of Little League ... is simply that all of life's lessons.. can be taught and learned within the confines of a ball diamond, in a small-town ballpark, on a sunny summer afternoon."

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