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Friday, August 15, 2014

Courts - One Gov. charged with signing bill in exchange for a bribe; another indicted for vetoing a bill

An interesting, 22-page, non-Indiana opinion today out of the 7th Circuit, Empress Casino Joliet Corp. v. John Johnston, read the first paragraph by Chief Judge Wood and you will see why:

Deals are the stuff of legislating. Although logrolling may appear unseemly some of the time, it is not, by itself, illegal. Bribes are. This case requires us once again to decide whether some shenanigans in the Illinois General Assembly and governor’s office crossed the line from the merely unseemly to the unlawful. It involves a subject we have visited in the past: two industries that compete for gambling dollars. See Empress Casino Joliet Corp. v. Balmoral Racing Club, Inc., 651 F.3d 722 (7th Cir. 2011) (en banc). In 2006 and 2008, former Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law two bills (to which we refer as the ’06 and ’08 Acts) that imposed a tax on certain in‐state casinos of 3% of their revenue and placed the funds into a trust for the benefit of the horseracing industry. Smelling a rat, the plaintiff casinos brought suit under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1964, alleging that the defendants, all members of the horseracing industry, had bribed the governor to ensure that the bills were enacted. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs (and of course not vouching for anything), we conclude that there was enough to survive summary judgment on the claim that the governor agreed to sign the ’08 Act in exchange for a bribe. We therefore reverse in part and remand for further proceedings on that part of the case.
Also this evening, the AP is reporting:
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption - making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state's first indicted governor in nearly a century.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 15, 2014 07:37 PM
Posted to Courts in general