Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman Went To Jail For This

From a report naming Bobby Jindal one of America’s worst governors:

Gov. Jindal appointed more than 200 campaign contributors—who donated in excess of  $784,000 to the governor’s election campaign in 2007 and 2008—to positions in Louisiana state government. In addition, 12 of the 16 doctors appointed by Gov. Jindal to the Louisiana Medical Advisory Board were found to be campaign donors as well.

Siegelman was convicted of corruption charges for giving former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy a seat on the Alabama hospital board in exchange for donations.

Of course, the two situations are very different. Siegelman was unfortunate enough to be a Democrat in a state with an extremely ambitious Republican US Attorney. Jindal is an extremely ambitious Republican in a state with Republican US Attorneys.

I’m serious. When Siegelman was on trial, he repeatedly said he was being accused of something that occurs every day in politics. And it does. People who make big contributions want something in return, and, as PBJ’s actions show, they often get it. To try to distinguish between politics as usual and actual corruption, the corruption statutes require a quid pro quo. Problem is, courts uphold convictions even when there is no evidence of an explicit quid pro quo. In other words, juries are free to conclude from the simple exchange of benefits that there was an explicit agreement; there’s no need to introduce, for example, an e-mail exchange outlining an explicit exchange of money and government benefits. So long as each party benefited, the jury can conclude they were corrupt. What that means is that any politician could face charges at any time. All it takes is a prosecutor with an axe to grind.

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One Comment on “Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman Went To Jail For This”

  1. KC Says:

    spot on, Wheeler….and there is nothing wrong with appointing your supporters

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