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The Supreme Court Needs to Be Consistent on Corruption Law

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision upholding a Baltimore police officer’s conviction for extortion under a key federal corruption statute called the Hobbs Act. In the majority opinion, Justice Alito wrote that the officer’s agreement with an auto body shop’s owner to accept kickbacks in exchange for directing car accident repair work to the shop constituted extortion under the law. And despite the dispute among the Justices about whether the payer in the extortion scheme may or may not be part of the conspiracy, all Justices agreed that the existence of an agreement between the parties is what defined a conspiracy and differentiated it from other lawful relationships. Read More ›

Justice Breyer’s Concern Should Not Free McDonnell

In 2010, the Governor of Virginia, Robert McDonnell, accepted more than $100,000 in cash and luxury goods from a Virginia businessman, Johnnie Williams. That money bought Williams access to the Governor and the Governor’s help in encouraging the State to fund studies to benefit William’s business. And the Governor followed through on that offer of help, making subordinates available for Williams to lobby and prodding those subordinates for updates on progress on Williams’s requests. Read More ›

Scandals and Scoundrels

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