Law, Corruption, and Government Oversight
Honest and effective government is essential to our democracy. This course will focus on the role of oversight in defending the integrity of public institutions against corruption and promoting the values of good government, including the rule of law, transparency, and accountability.
We will learn about the criminal prosecutions of elected officials for public corruption offenses and the regulation of our election system through campaign finance rules, redistricting, and election security measures. We will also explore the interplay among federal, state, and local governments in
performing oversight, including the roles of prosecutors, inspectors general, ethics agencies, and agency counsels. This course will then examine oversight of government disaster response and relief programs in connection with the COVID-19 crisis; investigations relating to government contractors
in the construction, social service, and technology sectors; and monitoring of particular industries by regulatory agencies. We will also consider the oversight activities of non-lawyers such as private claimants in public interest litigation, whistleblowers, and journalists.
This course will address questions about the legal and practical challenges of exercising meaningful oversight of government, the influence of money and power in politics, the significance of disclosure rules, and the separation of powers between branches of government in oversight matters. The course will also offer multiple opportunities for reflection on leadership. As we shall see, government oversight implicates an array of legal, normative, and policy issues at the intersection of criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law, election law, state and local government law, and regulatory compliance.
This upper-level elective will involve a mix of lecture, discussion, and class exercises, including a final class conference where students will present papers on panels in a simulated conference format.
Recommended for the Following Professional Pathways: Criminal Prosecution; Government/Public Sector; Corporate Transactions and Governance; Financial Services and Compliance; Healthcare Management and Compliance; Tax; General Practice: Litigation/Dispute Resolution; Labor and Employment