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Judicial Watch • McDonnell v. United States of America Amicus 474

McDonnell v. United States of America Amicus 474

McDonnell v. United States of America Amicus 474

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Date Created:April 5, 2016

Date Uploaded to the Library:April 11, 2016

Tags:honest, convicted, McDonnell, ARGUMENT, Fraud, Curiae, corruption, Amici, HOBBS, table, Amicus, Bill Clinton, Congress, Services, Counsel, government, america, Obama, FBI, DOJ, Supreme Court, states, Washington, united


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No. 15-474 THE
Supreme Court the United States
_________
ROBERT MCDONNELL,
Petitioner,
UNITED STATES AMERICA,
_________
Respondent. Writ Certiorari the United States
Court Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
_________
BRIEF AMICI CURIAE
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. AND ALLIED
EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION SUPPORT RESPONDENT
_________
James Peterson
Counsel Record
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street, S.W.
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
jpeterson@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Amici Curiae
QUESTION PRESENTED
Whether the court appeals correctly upheld the
jury finding that petitioner quid pro quo bribery
scheme violated the honest services fraud statute,
U.S.C. 1346, and the Hobbs Act, U.S.C. 1951,
because the things petitioner agreed exchange for personal benefits were official actions.
TABLE CONTENTS
QUESTION PRESENTED ........................................
TABLE CONTENTS ............................................
TABLE AUTHORITIES ..................................... iii
INTEREST AMICI CURIAE ................................1
SUMMARY THE ARGUMENT ............................2
ARGUMENT ...............................................................2 Robust Prosecution Needed Fight Public
Corruption ..............................................................2
II. The Honest Services Statute and Hobbs Act
Have Vital Role the Fight Against Public
Corruption ..............................................................4
CONCLUSION ..........................................................10
iii
TABLE AUTHORITIES
CASE
United States Miss. Valley Generating Co.,
364 U.S. 520 (1961) ...............................................3
STATUTORY PROVISIONS U.S.C. 1346 ................................................ passim U.S.C. 1951 ................................................ passim
OTHER AUTHORITIES
Jay Cost, Republic More: Big Government
and the Rise American Political Corruption
(2015) ......................................................................9
Gallup Survey, http://www.gallup.com/poll/185759/widespreadgovernmentcorruption.aspx?
version=print .........................................................3
Report Congress the Activities
and Operation the Public Integrity
Section for 2014 .....................................................4
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse,
http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/419/
(March 23, 2016) ...................................................4
INTEREST THE AMICI CURIAE1
Judicial Watch, Inc. Judicial Watch notfor-profit, educational foundation that seeks
promote integrity, transparency, and accountability government and fidelity the rule law. Judicial Watch investigates and reports government
corruption. also seeks prevent government
corruption through public interest litigation.
addition, Judicial Watch regularly files amicus
curiae briefs and has appeared amicus curiae this Court number occasions.
The Allied Educational Foundation AEF
nonprofit charitable and educational foundation
based Englewood, New Jersey. Founded 1964,
AEF dedicated promoting education diverse
areas study. AEF regularly files amicus curiae
briefs means advance its purpose and has
appeared amicus curiae this Court
number occasions.
Amici seek participate this case for the
purpose highlighting the important role the honest services fraud statute and Hobbs Act serve
prosecuting public corruption. Amici believe there urgent and continuing need for effective prosecution public corruption. Amici urge the Court
Pursuant Supreme Court Rule 37.6, Amici Curiae states
that counsel for party authored this brief whole
part and that person entity, other than Amici Curiae and
their counsel, made monetary contribution intended fund
the preparation and submission this brief. All parties have
consented the filing this brief; letters reflecting the
parties consent have been filed with the Clerk.
adopt construction U.S.C. 1346 (the honest
services statute and U.S.C. 1951 (the Hobbs
Act that preserves their utility critical prosecutorial tools fighting public corruption.
SUMMARY THE ARGUMENT
The honest services statute and the Hobbs Act
have served critical tools prosecuting public
corruption. The Court should adopt broad interpretation what constitutes official act not deprive prosecutors these critical tools
ARGUMENT ROBUST PROSECUTION NEEDED
FIGHT PUBLIC CORRUPTION.
Public officials have duty act the best
interest the people who elect them. When they
make decisions based personal interest, they are
defrauding the public. The honest services statute
criminalizes government corruption punishing
those who execute scheme deprive another the
right honest services. The Hobbs Act prohibits
extortion under color official right.
Petitioner was convicted violating these statutes accepted more than $175,000 personal
benefits (loans and luxury items) exchange for
agreeing use the power his office behalf
his benefactor. considering whether the actions
taken Petitioner constituted official acts, amici
urge the Court adopt broad possible inter-
pretation these statutes, consistent with the U.S.
Constitution and the intent Congress.
The prevention corruption essential not only make government work for its intended purpose,
e.g., ensure that public officials are using their office further the public interest and not enrich
themselves others, but also preserve public
confidence the democratic process. this Court
has observed: [A] democracy effective only the
people have faith those who govern, and that faith bound shattered when high officials and
their appointees engage activities which arouse
suspicions malfeasance and corruption. United
States Miss. Valley Generating Co., 364 U.S. 520,
562 (1961).
The people faith eroding. According
recent Gallup poll, three four Americans (75%)
last year perceived corruption widespread the
countrys government. This figure from two
three 2007 (67%) and 2009 (66%). See http://www.
gallup.com-/poll/185759/widespread-governmentcorruption.aspx?version=print.
This decline public confidence accompanies
decline prosecutions public officials. longterm decline federal prosecutions for public corruption has continued and reached year low.
Data from the Justice Department show that 505
individuals were prosecuted for corruption offenses
during 2015, decline 3.6 percent from
2014 and down more than percent from five years
ago. For the first four months 2016, there have
been just 140 new official corruption prosecutions.
This the lowest level reported for such prosecutions the last years. See Transactional Records
Access Clearinghouse, http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports
/crim/419/ (March 23, 2016).
Moreover, the Obama administration has pursued percent fewer public corruption charges
against federal employees than the administrations Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush,
according 2014 DOJ report Congress
public integrity.
See Report Congress the
Activities and Operation the Public Integrity
Section for 2014 (Obama administration has filed
annual average 390 such prosecutions compared Clinton (1995-2000) average 468 federal employees and Bush (2001-2009) average 467). this context, broad interpretation what
constitutes official act will strengthen the
honest services statute and the Hobbs Act tools
the fight against corruption.
II. THE HONEST SERVICES STATUTE AND
HOBBS ACT HAVE VITAL ROLE THE
FIGHT AGAINST PUBLIC CORRUPTION.
These statutes have been indispensable tool
many kinds cases. Public officials have been
prosecuted for taking campaign contributions
expectation government action. Others have been
prosecuted for omitting income their financial
disclosure statements and voting against legislation
affecting their income that was not disclosed. And
others have been prosecuted for taking sham jobs
with businesses and government agencies.
Hundreds public officials have been successfully prosecuted for depriving the public honest
services and violating the Hobbs Act. Some these
include:
Rod Blagojevich, former Illinois governor, indicted 2009 for conspiring commit honest
services fraud, well for soliciting bribes,
including attempting sell Barack Obama
Senate seat.
Randy Duke Cunningham, former Congressman from California, convicted corruption charges including honest services fraud,
was sentenced March 2006 eight years
prison after pleading guilty multiple corruption charges involving his acceptance
more than $2.4-million homes, yachts, antiques, Persian rugs and other items from defense contractors.
Former Illinois governor George Ryan was
convicted 2006 honest services fraud,
addition racketeering, tax fraud, obstruction justice, and making false statements
federal agents.
Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman,
convicted 2006 honest services fraud,
addition conspiracy, bribery, and obstruc-
tion justice, involving $500,000 contribution his campaign establish lottery, allegedly exchange for appointing the donor board that regulates hospitals.
Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff pled
guilty 2006 honest services fraud addition conspiracy and tax evasion; was
convicted 2008 further charges honest
services fraud addition charges conspiracy and tax evasion.
Bob Ney, former congressman from Ohio,
convicted corruption charges including honest services fraud, was sentenced 2007
months prison after admitted corruptly
accepting luxury vacation trips, skybox seats sporting events, campaign contributions
and expensive meals from Abramoff.
Ira Blackwood, Chicago police officer, convicted under the Hobbs Act for accepting
bribes from FBI agent influence pending cases Cook County Circuit Court.
John Bencivengo, former mayor Hamilton
Township, New Jersey, convicted under the
Hobbs Act for accepting money exchange for
influencing the Hamilton Township school
board refrain from putting contracts for
competitive bidding.
Former Alaska state legislator Bruce
Weyhrauch was convicted 2007 honest
services fraud addition bribery and extortion.
Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan
were convicted honest services fraud and
conspiracy the Kids for Cash scandal for
accepting money exchange for sending juveniles for-profit detention center.
Wayne Bryant, former Democratic New
Jersey state senator, convicted multiple corruption charges, including honest services
fraud, for using his power and influence obtain low-show job state School Osteopathic Medicine exchange for bringing millions dollars extra funding the school.
Kevin Geddings, former North Carolina lottery commissioner, sentenced 2006 four
years for concealing work done for lottery
vendor when accepted seat the state
lottery commission 2005.
Mary McCarty, Palm Beach, Florida County
Commissioner, resigned 2009 after admitting charges honest services fraud involving
the acceptance discounts, free hotel stays
and other undisclosed gifts provided businesses doing business with the county.
Ray Nagin, former mayor New Orleans
from 2002 2010, convicted bribery and
honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy
commit same. Nagin solicited and accepted
bribes from contractors and others seeking
conduct business with New Orleans.
William Jefferson, former Louisiana congressman, convicted for multiple bribery
schemes; the FBI found $90,000 cash the
his freezer, $10,000 increments wrapped
aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food
containers.
Anthony Seminerio, William Boyland, Jr.,
Carl Kruger, New York Assemblymen and
State Senator (Kruger), received bribes from
David Rosen, CEO company that managed several NYC area hospitals.
Richard Long, U.S. Army employee,
served Water and Petroleum Manager,
convicted honest services wire fraud and
bribery; provided confidential information
government contractor help during the
bidding process exchange for over half
million dollars loans.
Edgar Gillock, former Tennessee state senator, convicted honest services fraud. Honeywell employees sought Gillock assistance the sale computer Tennessee Department Employment Security. The Honeywell employees indirectly paid Gillock for
his services routing the money through
consulting firm.
Michael Myers, Raymond Lederer, Frank
Thompson, Jr., John Murphy, former Congressmen convicted bribery the Abscam
scandal, which the Congressmen agreed
help employees and family members employees Abdul Enterprises emigrate the
U.S. exchange for cash. light these successes fighting public
corruption, vital that the honest services statute
and Hobbs Act preserved that future cases
such these can prosecuted. This essential
because, one commentator has observed,
[p]olitical corruption incompatible with republican form government. republic strives above all
else govern for the public interest; corruption,
the other hand, occurs when government agents
sacrifice the interests everybody for the sake
few. Jay Cost, Republic More: Big Government
and the Rise American Political Corruption (2015).
CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, amici respectfully
request that this Court uphold the decision the
court appeals.
Respectfully submitted,
James Peterson
Counsel Record
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street, S.W.
Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
jpeterson@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Amici Curiae
April 2016