Santa Clara University

Ethics Center Blog
Bookmark and Share

At the Center

Back to Blog

Gifts to Public Officials

Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

The corrupting influence of gifts, even small ones such as tickets to sporting events, is the subject of a recent article in the Delaware News Journal. 

Reporter Maureen Milford spoke to Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler, who explained some of the dangers when public officials accept favors from those who do business with the government.

"If you, as someone who has business before a lawmaker, have five hours of one-on-one time, it's inevitable that you are going to discuss politics. A lot of people say that's the way the system runs, but it is so inherently unfair. That's why the phrase 'pay-to- play' was coined." 

"Indeed, studies have shown gifts do influence people, Nadler said. Physicians say they wouldn't be influenced by a free pen given by a representative from a drug company. But studies have shown doctors are more likely to write prescriptions for that company's products, Nadler said."

Tags: gifts and bribes, government ethics