Forty-Four former state attorneys general from across the country have filed an amicus brief supporting Governor McDonnell’s appeal of his conviction. Both Republicans and Democrats, including Maryland Democrat Doug Gansler, Democrat Congressman Jim Moran, John Ashcroft, and former NAACP president Ben Jealous, are supporting the former Governor.[read_more]
In particular, the attorneys general argued that the case federalized what should be state public corruption charges and sought to criminalize what they believe should be considered innocuous behavior.
McDonnell’s actions, the brief argues, should have been dealt with by the Commonwealth of Virginia and not the federal government. “Sensitivity to the federal-state balance in criminal law would have yielded a different outcome in the District Court,” the brief says.
Additionally, the attorneys general write, “Dangling the threat of criminal liability over every lunch with a lobbyist and every meeting with an interest group would impede the proper functioning of state and local governments.” They add that scrutinizing every official interaction too closely would make politicians fearful of providing basic constituent services.
In January Governor McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison. He is out awaiting his appeal hearing which will begin in May.