Category: Public Corruption Law

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A ‘Little Library’ on the Issues in United States v. Cohen

Below are links to key pleadings and other documents related to United States v. Cohen, in which Michael Cohen, the President’s former private lawyer, pleaded guilty to willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution and making an excessive contribution to the President’s campaign. Also below are links to some of the key court documents in United … Continue Reading

The D’Souza Pardon, Briefly Explained

President Donald J. Trump tweeted that he “[w]ill be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!” Why did the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 prosecute D’Souza, a prominent political conservative who pleaded guilty to charges that he reimbursed friends for $20,000 in contributions they made … Continue Reading

Bribery and the Brokered Convention?

In the industrial Midwest, after multiple ballots, the Republican convention finally chooses its nominee. Operatives for the frontrunner—a nationally known, polarizing figure who has infuriated Democrats with his abrasive rhetoric on the most divisive, racially-charged issue of the day—flood the city “with money to corrupt, with bullies to intimidate and with houries to seduce.” As … Continue Reading

At Stake in the FEC Debate Over Leadership PACs: More Criminal Enforcement?

In dueling draft advisory opinions to Representative Maxine Waters, the Federal Election Commission is divided over whether “leadership PACs” are subject to the personal use rules. Both drafts agree that FEC rules would not keep Representative Waters’ campaign, PAC or her personally from giving to a foreign candidate. But Draft A warns the Congresswoman that … Continue Reading

Why We Should Expect More Criminal Cases Charging Illegal Coordination Between Campaigns and Super PACs: A Former Prosecutor’s Perspective

Note: An earlier post on Perkins Coie’s In the Arena: Law and Politics Update discussed, from a campaign finance lawyer’s perspective, why the prosecution in United States v. Harber signals future jeopardy for operatives in down-ballot races who coordinate with hastily-formed “super PACs.” This post offers a different angle on the same question from Barak … Continue Reading

VA-11 Coordination Case Is a Wake-Up Call for Down-Ballot Races, Operatives

Last Friday’s sentencing of the manager of a failed Congressional race in Virginia’s 11th District suggests that, if there is to be a wave in the criminal prosecution of the campaign finance laws, it may come toward the bottom of the ticket. Smaller campaigns face the same competitive pressures as presidential campaigns and marquee Senate … Continue Reading

Deception and Disclosure in the Iowa Endorsement-Buying Case

Few face greater peril under the campaign finance and criminal laws than an undisputed bad actor. Yesterday, former Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson admitted in a plea agreement that he willfully caused Representative Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign to falsely report payments made to two companies. In fact, Sorenson acknowledged, the campaign paid the companies—who … Continue Reading

The Bachmann Announcement and the Special Challenges of Publicly-Charged Investigations

Today, Representative Bachmann announced that she would not seek re-election in 2014 to Congress.  In a video statement, she denied that her decision was related in any way to the reported investigations relating to her 2012 presidential campaign, or to any fear she might not be re-elected.  But whatever may be her particular situation, the … Continue Reading

Ensign Case Shows How FEC Allegations Can Be a Multi-Front War for Candidates, Third Parties

As noted above, the Federal Election Commission obtained civil penalties from former Senator John Ensign and his parents totaling more than $50,000, for making and receiving excessive contributions and failing to disclose them to the FEC.  For the much-maligned former Senator, this news has been described as a footnote – a “sad end to a … Continue Reading