Bob McDonnell

Former Rep. Chaka Fattah Appeals Prison Sentence
Lawyers lean on Supreme Court precedent to narrow corruption definition

Ex-Rep. Chaka Fattah is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Chaka Fattah, who was convicted of racketeering in 2016, is looking to other politicians charged with corruption for inspiration as he appeals his 10-year prison sentence.

Specifically, the Philadelphia Democrat is hoping a recent Supreme Court decision used by politicians to successfully appeal corruption sentences will also work in his favor, the Philadephia Tribune reported.

Campaign Finance Watchdogs Decry McDonnell Corruption Ruling
Decision continues pattern of rolling back curbs on lobbyists, donors

A onetime rising star in Republican circles, ex-Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Monday's Supreme Court decision to vacate former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell’s corruption verdict fits into a larger trend of relaxing federal rules for lobbyists and political donors. But some campaign finance and corruption experts say the fallout may not be far reaching.  

The unanimous opinion gave donors and lobbyists some sense of relief because if the court had held up McDonnell’s conviction, many feared it would have chilled the often cozy relationship between elected officials and those seeking to influence them.  

Supreme Court Overturns McDonnell's Bribery Conviction
Ex-Virginia governor had been sentenced to two years in prison

Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell previously faced two years in prison after being convicted on corruption charges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a unanimous decision Monday, the Supreme Court vacated the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell.  

McDonnell and his wife had been indicted by the federal government for accepting more than $175,000 in gifts and loans from a businessman whose dietary supplement they promoted through arranged meetings and events.  

Supreme Court May Be Ready to Side With McDonnell
Justices try to define which actions corruption laws forbid

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has appealed his 2014 fraud conviction to the Supreme Court. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared ready to side with former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in a case that could shape how members of Congress and other elected officials do their jobs without running afoul of corruption laws.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., along with Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer, searched repeatedly during the arguments for a way to define — or even describe — exactly which actions the law forbids.  

McDonnell's Supreme Court Appeal Could Change Politics
Case hinges on what qualifies as an 'official action' under bribery and fraud laws

The Supreme Court decision in the appeal of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell could have a chilling effect on elected officials. (CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in the corruption case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell over a businessman’s gifts, including $20,000 for a Fifth Avenue shopping spree, more than $5,000 for a monogrammed Rolex and the use of a convertible Ferrari.  

Put those sensational details aside, however, and the Supreme Court’s decision in the McDonnell appeal could have a chilling effect on how members of Congress and other elected officials do their jobs — as well as how lobbyists and campaign donors interact with them.