Jennifer Ahearn


When the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the bribery conviction of Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, it did so on statutory grounds, but its opinion included ominous language about "constitutional concerns" the Court had with a broader interpretation of the statute. If Congress wants to amend the bribery statute so that the McDonnell decision does not result in an excessively narrow interpretation of the statute in the future, it would be wise to do so bearing in mind the constitutional issues the McDonnell court raised.

This article proposes that Congress could account for these concerns by taking, as a starting point, language in the existing federal financial conflicts of interest statute and related regulations promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics, which are appropriately broad and contain detail that would be helpful to public officials and others seeking to conform their conduct to the law.



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