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Soft Corruption: How Unethical Conduct Undermines Good Government and What To Do About It
by William E. Schluter
Rutgers University Press, 2017
Paper: 978-0-8135-8617-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-8619-9
Library of Congress Classification JK3545.S45 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 320.9749

New Jersey has long been a breeding ground for political corruption, and most of it is perfectly legal. Public officials accept favors from lobbyists, give paid positions to relatives, and rig the electoral process to favor their cronies in a system where campaign money is used to buy government results. Such unethical behavior is known as “soft corruption,” and former New Jersey legislator William E. Schluter has been fighting it for the past fifty years.
In this searing personal narrative, the former state senator recounts his fight to expose and reform these acts of government misconduct. Not afraid to cite specific cases of soft corruption in New Jersey politics, he paints a vivid portrait of public servants who care more about political power and personal gain than the public good. By recounting events that he witnessed firsthand in the Garden State, he provides dramatic illustrations of ills that afflict American politics nationwide.
As he identifies five main forms of soft corruption, Schluter diagnoses the state government’s ethical malaise, and offers concrete policy suggestions for how it might be cured. Not simply a dive through the muck of New Jersey politics, Soft Corruption is an important first step to reforming our nation’s political system, a book that will inspire readers to demand that our elected officials can and must do better.

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