U.S. Supreme Court Reins in Government’s Expansive Interpretation of Bribery Charges

American Bar Association: Government Affairs Practice Newsletter

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On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the bribery convictions of Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia in McDonnell v. United States. In doing so, the unanimous Court rejected prosecutors’ expansive interpretation of “official act,” a term at the core of several public-corruption statutes. Finding the government’s interpretation inconsistent with the statutory text and precedent, the Court also found that such a broad sweep could ensnare ordinary constituent services by public officials, thereby raising due process concerns.

Republished with permission. This article was first published in the American Bar Association: Government Affairs Practice Newsletter on September 21, 2016.