McDonnell ruling could affect McCrory's legal fate

Birds of a feather do time together:

The Supreme Court indicated its interest in the case last fall by giving McDonnell, 61, a reprieve from reporting to prison while it considered whether to hear his appeal.

After the Supreme Court’s announcement Friday, McDonnell issued a statement thanking the court for accepting the case. “I am innocent of these crimes and ask the court to reverse these convictions. I maintain my profound confidence in God’s grace to sustain me and my family, and thank my friends and supporters across the country for their faithfulness over these past three years,” he said.

Pretty sure God had a few things to say about Mammon, moneychangers, and of course those thirty pieces of silver. But let's not go there. McDonnell's lawyers are approaching his defense from a few different angles, but most of it revolves around "everybody does it" reasoning. And McCrory is not just sitting in the sidelines watching. The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, of which our Governor is an influential member, filed this amicus brief in defense of McDonnell:

Governor McDonnell was convicted for receiving things of value in return for agreeing to commit “offi-cial acts,” but the specific actions the Governor took were not “official acts” as Congress has defined—or as this Court has understood—those terms. In fact, the five specific actions that were the legal basis for this prosecution amounted to little more than facilitating an importunate constituent’s access to other state pol-
icymakers—conduct that is extraordinarily common-place. “Ingratiation and access,” after all, “are not corruption.” Citizens United v. FEC , 558 U.S. 310, 360 (2010)

Sound familiar? It should, because that entire paragraph could easily have been written in defense of a convicted Pat McCrory. And isn't it special they can now use Citizens United to defend such corrupt actions? But this part will raise the WTF level in your head to a dangerous level:

Governor McDonnell was convicted in part for taking actions that, in the main, are indistinguishable from actions that nearly every elected official in the United States takes nearly every day. We emphasize that our focus here is not on the quid —what Governor McDonnell accepted—or the pro—the alleged agreement between Governor McDonnell and Mr. Williams—but rather on the
quo —the particular acts that formed the basis of Governor McDonnell’s conviction. Rather than find that the Governor actually ordered or influenced state officials to do what Mr. Williams really wanted—perform state-sponsored studies of Anatabloc, a dietary supplement sold by Mr. Williams’ company—the Fourth Circuit affirmed his conviction based on such mundane conduct as “asking a staffer to attend a briefing, questioning a university researcher at a product launch, and directing a policy advisor to ‘see’ him about an issue.” Pet.App.73a. These actions amount to nothing more than facilitating Mr. Williams’ access to other state officials.

Get that? It isn't the money that changed hands (graft), or the agreement (conspiracy) to earn that money, it's whether or how well the Governor came through on his promises. Did it work? According to Republicans, unless all the machinations result in a touchdown, the game was never played.

This case could be as big as Citizens United, and even moreso concerning direct political corruption. Let's hope they get this one right.

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