Judicial Watch Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision to Throw out Corruption Conviction of Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
JUNE 27, 2016
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the corruption conviction of former Governor Bob McDonnell:
The decision by the Supreme Court to vacate former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell’s graft conviction further weakens the ability of the American people to fight back against burgeoning public corruption.
Even before today’s unfortunate decision by the High Court, federal prosecutions for public corruption had reached a 20-year low. Data from the Justice Department show that 505 individuals were prosecuted for corruption offenses during FY 2015, a decline of 3.6 percent from FY 2014 and down more than 30 percent from five years ago.
It is no surprise that criminal politicians don’t like federal corruption laws, but that doesn’t make those laws unconstitutional. Eviscerating anti-corruption laws is the last thing this nation needs – as public corruption is already out of control.
In September 2014, McDonnell was convicted for granting political favors to a Richmond businessman in exchange for golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in loans. In July 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rejected McDonnell’s appeal. In January 2016, the Supreme Court agreed to review the lower court’s decision. Former Gov. McDonnell alleges the federal statues penalizing bribery and extortion are impermissibly vague under the U.S. Constitution.
Judicial Watch joined with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) in filing an amici curiae brief with the United State Supreme Court in support of the federal court of appeals decision upholding the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on 11 counts of corruption and fraud. The friends of the court brief was filed on April 6, 2016.