Episode 121: ADM for Oct. 12, 2022: What Constitutes Political Corruption? An Upcoming Supreme Court Case May Define it, and Not in a Good Way


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What Constitutes Political Corruption? An Upcoming Supreme Court Case May Define it, and Not in a Good Way
Today’s Links


The New Republic - The Supreme Court Might Be on the Brink of Making Corruption Easier—Again
Scotus Blog - Percoco v United States
Washington Post - Ex-Va. governor Robert McDonnell guilty of 11 counts of corruption
Politico - Supreme Court overturns Bob McDonnell’s corruption convictions
Groups Taking Action:
Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Citizens for Ethics in Washington (CREW)
You’re listening to the American Democracy Minute, keeping YOUR government by and for the people.

What constitutes political corruption? Short of receiving a briefcase of cash in exchange for a vote, there’s not much that will convince the U.S. Supreme Court that it IS corruption. An upcoming case may even do away with that red line.

An article in The New Republic by Michael Linhorst explores an upcoming case in the U.S. Supreme Court called Percoco v. United States. An aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo temporarily stepped down to run Cuomo’s campaign, saying he would return to his government job. While a “private citizen” he used a government office and phones while he pressured state officials on behalf of a developer in exchange for $35,000 being sent to his wife.

While it seems like open and shut corruption, court scholars and democracy advocates cite recent examples like the 2014 conviction of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. He and his wife were convicted in state courts of taking lavish gifts, and sweetheart loans from a developer. But because no quid pro quo was proven, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Watchdogs think the Percoco case may open the doors of corruption even wider.

In the 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited money in elections, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote “the appearance of influence or access” for donors “will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

We have links to articles and groups taking action at AmericanDemocracyMinute.org. For the American Democracy Minute, I’m Brian Beihl.

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