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Ethics in American Politics (University of Florida)

In recent decades, the focus of concern about political ethics has shifted to the problem of "conflicts of interest" between elected officials' private interests and their public duties, and to the regulation of campaign finance. This course examines theories of political ethics, important episodes of corruption, and the regulation of political ethics through elections and legislation.

The main focus of the course is on the ethics of legislators, but presidents, governors, and other public officials are also examined. Some of the main questions the course addresses include: How do political ethics differ, if at all, from private ethics? What causes corruption? What have been the aims of good-government reformers? What sorts of ethical issues does the American campaign finance system pose? Should unethical behaviour be addressed at the ballot box rather than through new laws? What are the limits of ethics regulation? What constitutes political courage, and what other virtues are important for public officials to have?

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29 Sep 2010

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