It was pointed out to me by Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law
School Los Angeles, that back in 2000 John Copeland Nagle, a
professor at Notre Dame Law School, wrote a law review article
suggesting what I call the Westminster Approach to campaign
contributions from those seeking benefits from the recipient
official's government. The article, which focuses on Congress, is
Recusal Alternative to Campaign Finance Legislation
" (37 Harv.
J. on Legis. 69 (2000)).
The Westminster Approach, named after a 1996 ethics law in
Westminster, CO, requires an official who has received a gift,
including a campaign contribution, above a certain dollar amount to
withdraw from participation in a matter involving the contributor.
This means that there is no contribution limit, but if a contributor goes
beyond the gift limit, the recipient official is not in a position
to help the contributor. Therefore, there is nothing to be gained (1) by
making large contributions in the hope that they will benefit the
contributor, or (2) by requiring the payment of large contributions in
order to play.