Staying out of the increasingly controversial use of the criminal law to police political campaign donations, the Supreme Court chose on Monday to leave undisturbed the convictions of an ex-governor and a campaign contributor who sought to test the issue anew. The action had no direct connection to the recent case of the failed criminal prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards, but that case has added to the legal controversy. … The Justices’ denial of review of cases involving former Alabama governor Don Eugene Siegelman and former Alabama hospital executive Richard M. Scrushy probably brings to an end their challenge to convictions over Scrushy’s contribution of $500,000 to the governor’s office to support a ballot measure for an education-funding lottery in the state. Prosecutors contended that the donation came in return for the governor’s decision to give Scrushy a continuing appointment to a state board that determined the number of health-care facilities operating in the state.
The two had taken their cases to the Supreme Court two years ago, making the same pleas for the Court to provide new guidance on when a campaign contribution may be treated as a crime, when prosecutors have not proved an explicit agreement to trade a public action for an election campaign donation. At that time, the Court sent their case back to the Eleventh Circuit Court, to take into account the Court’s decision that year limiting the scope of the federal law against fraud by public officials. The Eleventh Circuit, after its new review, once again upheld most of the convictions, but ordered new sentencing.
Full Article: Campaign donations convictions stand : SCOTUSblog.