The Supreme Court Redraws the Lines for Corruption Prosecutions
The Ferrari carrying former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appears to have made a U-turn this week on its way to the federal penitentiary. Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States, which vacated Governor McDonnell’s conviction redraws the lines for corruption prosecutions. The Court held a public official does not violate federal law simply by taking a benefit in exchange for arranging a meeting with or providing access to public officials and employees, or asking those employees to consider an issue. Instead, the official must take action or make a decision, or agree to do so, on a specific and focused matter that involves a formal exercise of government power, including advising or pressuring others to take an action or make a decision. But, the consequences of McDonnell should not be exaggerated.