Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Noah Bookbinder released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s conviction for corruption:
Gov. Robert McDonnell accepted nearly $200,000 in cash and luxury goods, including a Rolex watch and flights in a private jet, in exchange for using the Governor’s office to help a business. The Supreme Court today held that although the Governor and his aides took action—with state resources—on behalf of the business, those actions do not go far enough to constitute “official actions” without prosecutors proving still more, creating an additional hurdle before corrupt conduct is considered illegal. This narrow reading of the law will seriously impede law enforcement’s efforts to clamp down on corruption. The Supreme Court essentially just told elected officials that they are free to sell access to their office to the highest bidder. If you want the government to listen to you, you had better be prepared to pay up.