After winning the Cold War, the US sought to export the rule of law to other countries. That flow has gone into reverse. Today it is importing some of the worst corruption from abroad. America’s largest law firms, real estate companies and lobbying outfits thrive on dirty money. In the process they are leaving stains on US democracy that will not easily come out in the wash.

US President Donald Trump is the public face of a problem that extends into the heart of America’s system. It spans Democrats and Republicans, New York and Washington, the public and private sectors. It is a curse that dare not speak its name in the 2020 election.

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