Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty today on 17 of 20 counts in his corruption trial in federal court. Maureen Martin, senior fellow for legal affairs at Heartland, has an interesting take on the Blago corruption case.
“Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich may be the only convicted politician who never took an illegal dime on the charges involved.
“Blagojevich talked a lot about trading official acts for campaign contributions, memorialized on wiretap recordings, but never closed the deal on the involved charges. Prosecutors emphasized they didn’t have to show money changed hands, saying talk about crime is enough for guilty verdicts. The jury evidently agreed.
“Federal criminal laws criminalizing mere talk about committing crime, but without requiring actual overt conduct, ought to be repealed. They enable federal prosecutors to usurp the role properly belonging to state prosecutors – such as enforcing state bribery laws – which do require actual criminal conduct.
“Blagojevich was stupid for talking about linking gubernatorial acts and campaign contributions, but being stupid shouldn’t be criminal.”