Tag Archives: Draw the line between lawful political activity and crimes

Rod Blagojevich reply brief to Solicitor General brief in opposition, March 10, 2016, Attorney Len Goodman, Draw the line between lawful political activity and crimes, Delaying review unwarranted given that Blagojevich will remain imprisoned during the delay

Rod Blagojevich reply brief to Solicitor General brief in opposition, March 10, 2016, Attorney Len Goodman, Draw the line between lawful political activity and crimes, Delaying review unwarranted given that Blagojevich will remain imprisoned during the delay

Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

“Regardless of how this plays out, it benefits Obama. If there is no appeal or the appeal is denied, Blagojevich will be sequestered. If the appeal proceeds, it could drag out beyond impacting the 2012 election cycle. The intent is obvious.”…Citizen Wells, July 19, 2011

 

ROD BLAGOJEVICH, PETITIONER
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
_______________________
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI
TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT
________________________
REPLY BRIEF FOR THE PETITIONER

“REPLY BRIEF FOR THE PETITIONER

1. This case is, and has been from the start, fundamentally about where to draw the line between lawful political activity and crimes of extortion, bribery and honest services fraud. That is an important issue of bipartisan concern, directly impacting all candidates seeking or holding public office and their supporters, and one which this Court recently agreed to review in McDonnell v. United States, No. 15-474 (certiorari granted Jan. 15, 2016). Blagojevich’s case is particularly important because it involves only the solicitation or attempt to obtain campaign contributions, which this Court has held are a form of protected political speech that warrants heightened scrutiny. Indeed, regardless of one’s views about money in politics, a bright-line rule distinguishing lawful campaign fundraising activities from unlawful political corruption is necessary to avert a chilling effect on candidates’ First Amendment right to solicit (and receive) campaign contributions, and donors’ First Amendment right to respond with contributions. Clarity about where to draw that line is also essential to avoiding arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement against politicians who are outspoken, controversial, polarizing or simply unpopular. It is an issue that impacts our longstanding system of private financing of election campaigns from President of the United States to local alderman, and one that the lower courts have struggled with consistently since Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255 (1992).”

“2. The government’s opposition does not dispute that the lower courts have expressed confusion—and signaled the need for further clarity and guidance from this Court—regarding what effect Evans had on McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257 (1991), in the context of public corruption prosecutions involving the solicitation of campaign contributions. To the contrary, the government’s attempt to minimize the degree of conflict among the circuit courts on this issue (Opp. 18-21) proves the essence of Blagojevich’s petition: that the lower courts have acknowledged a significant lack of clarity regarding whether Evans modified or relaxed McCormick’s “explicit promise or undertaking” requirement to prove public corruption offenses involving campaign contributions; that the confusion arises in part from uncertainty regarding whether this Court’s holding in Evans was meant to weaken the requirement for proving extortion involving campaign contributions; and that the circuits have expressed particular confusion about what McCormick’s requirement that a quid pro quo be “explicit” means in light of Evans. The government also concedes (Opp. 20) that since Evans some courts of appeals have (appropriately) recognized the distinction between public corruption cases involving campaign contributions and those involving other payments, and have indicated or suggested that extortion cases involving campaign contributions require heightened proof of an “explicit” agreement under McCormick. ”

Read more:

Click to access Blagojevich-v-United-States-cert-reply-FINAL-March-8-2016.pdf