The Difference Between a Bribe and a Campaign Contribution
I used to think the difference between a bribe and a campaign contribution was that the beneficiaries of the latter make the rules. If police or judges or administrators made the rules, presumably paying them off would be legal. But it just occurred to me that’s only part of it.
If you pay a congress member money in exchange for a single favor, that is a bribe. But if you pay them for access and favorable treatment in general, it’s not a bribe. That is, bribes get too little in return.
At least that’s what Justice Kennedy said.