Despite the presence of strong anti-corruption policies, state and regulatory capture may persist and thrive in the highest echelons of government. This article explores such a case, that of Thailand under former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. The author argues that the primary explanation for this contradiction lies in Thailand's post-1997 anti-corruption framework. Because of the ascendancy of a business–politics nexus more powerful in blocking reform than Thai constitutional drafters had anticipated, and because of the decline in political contestability as a result of Thaksin's control of both the legislature and the executive, the stage was set for a dramatic increase in the levels of state capture. The author suggests that effective control of such political corruption calls for a strategy which extends far beyond the technocratic approaches used by Thai reformers in the mid to late 1990s.