June 27, 2016
Supreme Court Ruling in McDonnell Case Is Disappointing But Has a Silver Lining
Statement of Scott Nelson, Attorney, Public Citizen
Note: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. Public Citizen and Democracy 21 filed an amicus brief in the case. Scott Nelson did the legal work on the brief.
We’re very disappointed that the court took such a narrow view of what amounts to bribery under the law. This ruling opens the way for corporate executives and wealthy individuals to undermine our democracy by buying influence at the state level. However, we’re pleased that the court didn’t accept the constitutional arguments made by McDonnell that the First Amendment protects quid pro quo payoffs made to government officials to influence government policy.