The McDonnell conviction should stand
This week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the appeal of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell (R). McDonnell and his wife 1:1 replica handbags , Maureen, were convicted of multiple counts of corruption in September 2014.
McDonnell and his allies claim his case has grave implications for our political system. They say McDonnell was convicted for simply extending routine political courtesies to a supporter. If his conviction is upheld, they argue, no politician will be able to attend a simple fundraiser or Rotary Club breakfast without fear of being indicted.
But the political sky is not falling. McDonnell’s case is a Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags relatively straightforward example of public corruption. His convictions should be upheld.
The governor and his wife did not deny that they accepted more than $170,000 in gifts from businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., including a Rolex watch, designer gowns and $120,000 in no interest, no paperwork loans.
The jury found that 1:1 replica handbags , in return, the McDonnells agreed to use the power of the governor’s office to promote Williams’s dietary supplement, Anatabloc https://www.dolabuy.su/ , within the Virginia government. McDonnell arranged meetings for Williams with other government officials and hosted a product launch event for Anatabloc at the governor’s mansion.
McDonnell claims these efforts to help Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags Williams cannot sustain a corruption conviction because they do not amount to “official action” under federal law. This argument has been a centerpiece of his defense from day one, but it’s largely a smokescreen.
The crime of bribery hinges on a corrupt agreement to be influenced in the exercise of official power, not on precisely what the public official does. If McDonnell were correct, a governor could have a “pay to play” policy through which he routinely accepted secret gifts from contractors in exchange for replica designer handbags arranging meetings with relevant state officials and that would not be bribery because there’s no “official action.” Fortunately, that is not the law.
In fact, if there is a corrupt quid pro quo agreement, the crime is complete even if the public official never acts. Suppose a politician accepted $100,000 from a contractor in exchange for promising to award him the contract to renovate a public building. The next day, the building burns down. The politician is still guilty of bribery because she made a corrupt deal to sell her office even though she never took any steps to fulfill the bargain.
Whether what McDonnell actually did for Williams fits some overly lawyered definition of “official action” is not the issue. His actions serve as evidence that a corrupt agreement existed, but it’s the agreement itself that’s the crime. The jury found that McDonnell accepted extravagant gifts from Williams with the understanding that, in exchange, he cheap louis vuitton bags from china would use the power of his office to benefit Williams. That is all the law requires.
McDonnell and his allies also claim his conviction threatens First Amendment rights of free speech and political association. Politicians have a right to raise funds, and citizens have high quality designer replica handbags a right to support politicians whose policies they favor. If McDonnell can be convicted based on his interaction with Williams, they argue, then any politician could face indictment if he held a political fundraiser and took actions that benefit those who attended.
This attempt to dress up McDonnell’s actions in constitutional garb brings to mind the old line about putting fake louis bag lipstick on a pig. McDonnell and his allies routinely speak about politicians and their “donors” or “supporters,” but that has nothing to do with Williams. These charges did not involve attending fundraisers or making legal campaign contributions.
In the world of replica louis vuitton bags quid pro quo corruption, not all quid are created equal.
Whatever its flaws, our campaign finance system at least has some legal limits on contributions and reporting requirements that allow the public to see the sources of a politician’s support. But the point of a secret deal such as that between Williams and McDonnell is to avoid any such limits or disclosures. The nature replica louis vuitton handbags of the deal itself is substantial evidence of corrupt intent, which is not the case with a campaign contribution or other routine political support.
McDonnell’s constitutional argument 1:1 replica handbags trivializes the First Amendment. There Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags may be legitimate constitutional concerns in a bribery case involving campaign contributions, but that’s not this case. It’s hard to see the Madisonian virtue in protecting the “right” of Williams secretly to buy McDonnell a Rolex or to take his wife shopping at Louis Vuitton in exchange for political favors.
It has been more than 18 months since McDonnell was convicted. There is no sign high quality replica handbags china that politics in Virginia or elsewhere has ground to a halt. Nor have we seen a new wave of prosecutions based on attendance at Rotary Club breakfasts.
Despite all the hue and cry, there is nothing exceptional about McDonnell’s case it’s the oldest story in the book. Cutting secret deals to accept gifts in exchange for the exercise of political power has gone on as long as there have been politicians. And it has always been corrupt.