U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Gov. McDonnell's Bribery Conviction

High Court Decision Underscores Importance of Strong Gift and Campaign Finance Laws

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously vacated and remanded the conviction of former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell, holding that actions like setting up an event or talking to another official on behalf of a benefactor would not sustain a conviction under the standards of the federal bribery statute. 

The ruling, however, leaves open the possibility that Governor McDonnell could be re-tried under new jury instructions that reflect this narrower interpretation of the statute.   

Tara Malloy, deputy executive director for the Campaign Legal Center, issued the following reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in McDonnell v. United States:
“Today’s ruling makes it even more difficult to protect our democracy from attempts by officeholders to peddle political access and influence to the highest bidder.  This entire case could have been avoided if Virginia had taken the necessary and vital steps to prohibit the receipt of huge gifts from people who have business before the government. Given today’s ruling, states must make it a priority to protect and preserve the integrity of our democracy by passing strong gift laws and campaign finance laws, both of which are designed to prevent bribery schemes from hatching in the first place.”
The Campaign Legal Center submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in McDonnell v. United States.
More reading:

McDonnell v. United States: What’s at Stake
Is Citizens United a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card for Bob McDonnell? The U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide