One Month Until the U.S. Supreme Court Hears Governor McDonnell’s Case


We are less than one month until the U.S. Supreme Court hears Governor McDonnell’s case. One of the new amicus briefs filed by the James Madison Center for Free Speech (“Madison Center”) is especially important right now in our country’s history because it states that if the definition of quid pro quo that was applied to Gov. McDonnell’s case is allowed to stand, this would criminalize not only politics, but also elections as well.

And this, during one of the most important presidential elections of our time…

The Madison Center is named for James Madison, the author and principal sponsor of the First Amendment, and is guided by Madison’s belief that “the right of free discussion . . . [is] a fundamental principle of the American form of government.”

In the brief, the Madison Center presents a strong case that the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Gov. McDonnell’s case threatens to upend America’s campaign finance system. The Center points to the Supreme Court’s own precedent in defining quid pro quo corruption, summarized as: 1) an explicit arrangement 2) for the direct exchange of something of value for 3) a public official’s improper promise or commitment that is 4) contrary to the obligations of his or her office 5) in an effort to control an official, sovereign act.

The brief argues that district court erred in failing to include a jury instruction properly defining quid pro quo corruption, and if the definition of quid pro quo corruption that was applied to Gov. McDonnell is allowed to stand, the ramifications to our political system with have dire consequences such as:

  • Constituents will be forced to choose between supporting a candidate and interacting with that candidate once elected.
  • Public officials will be immobilized from doing anything with constituents that supported their campaigns.
  • Out-of-state donors will markedly increase.
  • Good candidates will be deterred from running from office unless independently able to fund their campaign.
  • Contributions to independent expenditures groups would dry up.

The brief states: “Defined any other way, quid pro quo corruption would criminalize not only politics but elections, casting a vast, unconstitutional chill on protected political speech and association.”

As we prepare to make this argument in front of the nation’s highest court, we need your help to raise our goal of $1 million, which will allow us to make the very best presentation possible. The federal government has unlimited taxpayer resources to prosecute Gov. McDonnell and his wife, but all the McDonnell family has are their own resources and the contributions of friends like you.

Please join us and make a difference by clicking on the donate button now. We need your help because there is so much at stake: not just for Bob but also for all public officials and campaign contributors in the country.

Posted by
Cheryl McLeskey
President Restoration Fund