The Supreme Court today announced it will not hear an appeal by former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D) challenging his 2006 bribery conviction. His lawyers at attempted to get the Court to rule that campaign donations could only be deemed bribes in the case of an explicit agreement between the candidate and the donor. No justices dissented from nor commented on the decision.
Siegelman, who served as Governor of Alabama from 1999 to 2003, was convicted in 2006 of taking $500,000 in campaign contributions to a pro-state lottery ballot campaign in exchange for a seat on a regulatory board. Siegelman has claimed that he was the victim of political persecution by former Bush official Karl Rove, and his case has been plagued by improper conduct by the prosecution.
In 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to review his conviction in light of new interpretations of the “honest services” laws. That court threw out the convictions on two of the seven counts against Siegleman, but upheld the rest. His re-sentencing in Alabama had been on hold, pending the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to grant certiorari.
While the Supreme Court’s recent rulings in the Skilling and Citizens United cases have significantly de-fanged political corruption laws, this was a rare case where the Justices opted against wading further into those waters.