The Supreme Court on Monday turned down former Alabama governor Don Siegelmanâ€™s attempt to challenge his public corruption conviction.
Siegelman and former Alabama hospital executive Richard Scrushy were found guilty on charges Scrushy made $500,000 in political contributions to one of Siegelmanâ€™s favored causes so that the governor would name him to a state hospital board.
Siegelman, who did not benefit financially from the transactions, argued that the court should set a higher standard for when political contributions can be prosecuted as bribes.
â€œMost if not all officials are responsive in at least some degree to those who contribute,â€ Siegelman told the courtÂ in his brief.
The justices made no comment in turning down the case. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, likely because of her work on the case while she was President Obamaâ€™s solicitor general.
Siegelman, a Democrat, was supported by more than 100 former state attorneys general who asked the court to review the case in order to impose higher standards. As it stands,Â they argued, the law gives â€œunwarranted latitude to prosecutors in targeting, for whatever reasons, those politicians and contributors whose lives and careers they desire to imperil.â€
But the Obama administrationÂ said a standard thatÂ required an â€œexpressâ€ agreement between the parties would be too much.
â€œUnder a standard that requires not just aÂ quid pro quoÂ but one that is verbally spelled out with all the â€œiâ€s dotted and â€œtâ€s crossed, all but the most careless public officials will be able to avoid criminal liability for exchanging official action for campaign contributions,â€ Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. wrote.