Influence Peddling Gets First Amendment Protection

The Supreme Court makes a historic mistake by giving cover to political back-scratching. The founders would call it corruption.

A free man.

Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, whose bribery conviction was unanimously overturned today by the Supreme Court, should thank his lawyers, his lucky stars and the First Amendment -- in reverse order. McDonell had been convicted by a jury for taking loans and gifts including an inscribed Rolex watch in exchange for calling state officials and setting up meetings for Jonnie Williams, the head of a Virginia company that claimed to have developed a nutritional supplement made from tobacco.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.