Gov. Blagojevich prosecution

Robert Sheridan rs at robertsheridan.com
Tue Dec 9 10:07:31 PST 2008


Is the question the same as asking whether the federal bribery  
statutes are unconstitutional?  Maybe the answer depends on whether  
the horse is being traded for cash or political influence, such as  
putting supporters in key jobs.  The latter, I think, has been time- 
honored in our system.  Has anyone, other than the U.S. Attorney in  
Illinois, perhaps, looked at the cases upholding the federal anti- 
corruption, anti-bribery statutes?

I presume, meaning speculate or guess, that the Court has drawn some  
lines...

rs
sfls


On Dec 9, 2008, at 8:59 AM, Volokh, Eugene wrote:

> 	Governor Blagojevich is accused of a wide range of corrupt
> behavior, including attempts to get private sector jobs and other
> financial benefits in exchange for his appointing someone as Senator  
> in
> place of President-Elect Obama.  But one small item struck me as
> particularly interesting (see
> http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acrobat/2008-12/43789434.pdf):
>
> "Defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, together with others,
> attempted to use ROD BLAGOJEVICH's authority to appoint a United  
> States
> Senator for the purpose of obtaining personal benefits for ROD
> BLAGOJEVICH, including, among other things, appointment as Secretary  
> of
> Health & Human Services in the President-elect's administration ...."
>
> "ROD BLAGOJEVICH has been intercepted conspiring to trade the senate
> seat for particular positions that the President-elect has the
> power to appoint (e.g. the Secretary of Health and Human Services)."
>
> 	It's certainly true that a position as Secretary of Health &
> Human Services is of financial value, and it pays more than the
> Governorship of Illinois.  So I take it that under normal bribery
> statutes, it might well be that trading a Senatorial appointment for a
> cabinet position is illegal just as is trading a Senatorial  
> appointment
> for cash.  But is it constitutional to prohibit this sort of political
> horse-trading?
>
> 	Eugene
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