“It puts at risk behavior that is common,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer. “That is a recipe for giving the Justice Department and prosecutors enormous power over elected officials.”
Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, was prosecuted on charges that he had used his office to help a businessman, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who had showered the governor and his wife with luxury products, loans and vacations worth more than $175,000. The gifts themselves were legal, and the question in the case was whether they were part of a corrupt bargain in which Mr. McDonnell reciprocated by using the power of his office to help Mr. Williams....
Michael R. Dreeben, a lawyer for the federal government, said... a narrow definition was “a recipe for corruption” that would “send a terrible message to citizens.”
Justice Breyer responded that “I’m not in the business of sending messages in a case like this,” adding, “I’m in the business of trying to figure out the structure of the government.”
April 27, 2016
"The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed ready to side with Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia who was convicted of public corruption and faces two years in prison."
"Justices across the ideological spectrum said the laws under which he had been convicted gave prosecutors too much power to say that routine political favors amounted to corruption," writes Adam Liptak in the NYT.