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Supreme Court Rules on Honest-Services Fraud: Robert F. McDonnell v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
Randall D. Eliason, William J. Haun, Stephen R. Klein, Tara Malloy June 29, 2016

On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States. The Court vacated the public corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, finding that the prosecution failed to properly instruct the jury on the definition of an “official action” as used in the federal bribery statute, Hobbs Act, and honest-services fraud statute. However, the Court rejected McDonnell's claims that the honest services statute and Hobbs Act are unconstitutional, and left the Court of Appeals to reconsider whether McDonnell had committed an "official act" under the Court's new definition. Our experts discussed the impact of the opinion, and debated its merits, as it relates to public corruption law and the criminal law more generally, as well as to the First Amendment and campaign finance law.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Randall D. Eliason, George Washington University Law School
  • William J. Haun, Associate, Hunton & Williams LLP
  • Stephen R. Klein, Attorney, Pillar of Law Institute
  • Tara Malloy, Deputy Executive Director, Campaign Legal Center

Supreme Court to Consider Honest-Services Fraud: Oral Arguments Heard in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
William J. Haun, Stephen R. Klein April 27, 2016

On Wednesday, April 27, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States. The Court will review the public corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to determine whether the definition of “official action” as used in the federal bribery statute, Hobbs Act, and honest-services fraud statute is limited to exercising actual governmental power or the threat or pressure to do so. If the definition is not so limited, the Court will also consider whether the Hobbs Act and honest-services fraud statute are unconstitutional—given that such a broad definition could include political activity protected by the First Amendment. Our experts attended the oral arguments and offered a summary and analysis to Federalist Society members.

Featuring:

  • William J. Haun, Associate, Hunton & Williams LLP
  • Stephen R. Klein, Attorney, Pillar of Law Institute

Free Speech, Anti-Corruption, and the Criminalization of Government Affairs - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Todd P. Graves, Edward T. Kang, Eugene Volokh, Peter R. Zeidenberg, Raymond W. Gruender, John G. Malcolm November 18, 2015

If we accept the premise that government, and government power, is growing, then the stakes for elective office have never been higher. With the levers of power at stake, are we seeing an increase in the use of the criminal justice system to attack legitimate political activity? Or are we perhaps seeing the proper policing of increased fraud and abuse by those in the political sphere? In a media climate in which a mere investigation can be fatal to a political campaign or career, what actions are political and what actions are criminal, and who should decide?

Criminal Law: Free Speech, Anti-Corruption, and the Criminalization of Government Affairs
12:00 noon – 2:15 p.m.
State Room

  • Mr. Todd P. Graves, Partner, Graves Garrett LLC
  • Mr. Edward T. Kang, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Mr. Peter R. Zeidenberg, Partner, Arent Fox LLP
  • Moderator: Hon. Raymond W. Gruender, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. John G. Malcolm, Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Crime and Politics: Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules in "John Doe" Investigation - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Allen Dickerson, Edward D. Greim, Tara Malloy, Jason Torchinsky July 24, 2015

On Thursday July 16, 2015, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an opinion and order ending the long running “John Doe” investigation into potential violations of Wisconsin campaign finance law and whether candidates and outside groups illegally “coordinated” spending. In mid-June of 2015, a young political consultant was sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison for illegally coordinating between a congressional campaign and a Super PAC. The U.S. Department of Justice also recently announced it will look carefully at allegations of coordination between candidate and outside groups. What does all of this mean? Where is the law heading on this? Are civil and criminal investigations into campaign activity going to be increasing?

  • Allen Dickerson, Legal Director, Center for Competitive Politics
  • Edward D. Greim, Partner, Graves Garrett LLC
  • Tara Malloy Senior Counsel, Campaign Legal Center
  • Moderator: Jason Torchinsky, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak PLLC

Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-14-15 featuring Brian Fitzpatrick and Erik Jaffe
Erik S. Jaffe, Brian T. Fitzpatrick May 14, 2015

On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. This case asks whether Florida’s rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that Florida's rule does not violate the First Amendment. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida was affirmed. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the Chief Justice’s opinion in full and Justice Ginsburg joined all except Part II. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, which Justice Breyer joined as to Part II. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Thomas joined. Justices Kennedy and Alito also filed dissenting opinions. 

To discuss the case, we have Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School and Erik Jaffe, who is a sole practitioner at Erik S. Jaffe, PC.