Legislation Class Notes 2/5/04

 

More on bribery

 

We were talking yesterday about elements of the bribery statute.You need corrupt intent.

 

One way you can maybe prove bribery is to show that because of a contribution, a lawmaker voted way differently than they ever had before.

 

Most people think that explicit quid pro quo arrangements are very rare because people arenít that stupid.So what are you seeking in exchange for your campaign contribution if itís not quid pro quo specific delivery of a vote?Youíre paying for access!You donít know what your next agenda item is going to be, but you want access to the real dude or dudette!

 

Think about corrupt intent as a sum result of a bunch of factors.Something is more likely to be corrupt if youíre appealing to an officialís self-interest as opposed to an officialís self-interest only incidentally to your own pursuit.

 

Most campaign contributions are intended to get people reelected.

 

What is the difference between an unlawful gratuity and a bribe?

 

United States v. Helstoski

 

This says that the Speech or Debate Clause covers more stuff than just floor debate, but itís still limited in some ways.It is said that the Speech or Debate Clause limits the possibility for prosecution.

 

If youíre worried that you could have a prosecutor on your back, you might waste a lot of your time defending against prosecutors.

 

Even though the Speech or Debate clause originated out of the perception that the executive branch might harass the legislative branch, private individuals might also harass legislators for defamatory acts.Does anybody have to go to court to defend themselves?

 

This is a really absolute doctrine with no balancing.

 

Jim Wright

 

He was Speaker of the House for six years.He was viewed as an extremely effective speaker in Reaganís second term.There was a lot of bitterness when Newt Gingrich started this ethics investigation.Both the House and Senate provide for these kinds of ethics investigations.Gingrich became the first sitting speaker to be reprimanded by the House for something else.What function do these kinds of procedures fulfill?

 

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