Quid Amateur Quo

Don Siegelman got sentenced to jail this week, again, for exchanging a seat on a hospital regulatory board for a 500k contribution to a lottery referendum.

Federal law makes it a crime to corruptly solicit or accept money with the intent of being rewarded or influenced in official actions, and prosecutors have said campaign contributions can be part of such a scheme.

That he didn’t control the referendum’s campaign money, nor did it directly benefit Siegelman, makes that first prong a little nebulous, but convicted he was.

Conversely, Paul Ryan has received 60k early in his career from Dennis Troha, who was indicted for campaign finance violations. He then advocated for the passage of a law that would directly benefit Troha:

While Troha was under indictment, the Journal Sentinel revealed that Congress had two years earlier passed a measure that allowed his trucking firm, JHT, to haul more trucks on each route. The paper obtained bank records showing that JHT had paid a consulting firm owned by Troha $107,238 and that such fees would continue until 2010 because Congress had passed the legislation.

The paper reported that Ryan had been one of several congressmen pushing for the legislation and had signed a letter in support.

So that’s pretty much all you can do, on the record, to get a bill passed if you are Congressman. But that doesn’t amount to quid pro quo, why? Because advocacy for a cause as a legislator will always be constituent services. In an executive position where unilateral action (appointing someone to a board, who, by the way, was already on that board) can effectuate the intended result of the bribe, it will always be more suspicious – even the donations themselves are legal. Unlike in the Troha scandal:

When John W. Erickson, a top Troha associate, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in September 2007, court documents said he, Troha and other alleged conspirators had directed illegal contributions to more than 20 politicians. Troha and others had “identified public officials who supported Indian gaming and/or the relaxation of restrictions on interstate trucking,” prosecutors wrote.

The only politician identified by name in the documents as having received contributions from Erickson was Ryan. (WaPo)

One of the many ways being a legislator beats being an executive.



  1. Jimmie says:

    Ssshh. No one here on this board wants to hear any possible negative stuff about the Vice Golden Boy. He’s a true Tea Party Conservative.

    • TheEiger says:

      That’s not it at all. We just know when we are reading trash versus real material. This is the equivalent of the tabloids that say Obama is part alien. Trash.

  2. Stefan says:

    How is that trash? It simply explains that both Ryan and siegelman did somewhat similar actions, but siegelman’s situation is deemed a bribe and worthy of jail time but Ryan’s is totally fine because it doesn’t amount to quid pro quo. It is really a comment on campaign finance law using a democratic governor and a republican congressman as the object lesson. How is that the equivalent of calling Obama an alien?

  3. TheEiger says:

    Where is your report on the boondoggle that was Solyndra? Oh that’s right that, $500 million to one of the President’s bundlers who’s company goes bankrupt the next year isn’t a story. It isn’t a story or an issue if it doesn’t fit your agenda. Again, this is trash. Just like your post about Georgia suppressing voters. You were wrong there and you’re wrong here. Trash

    • Stefan says:

      1) Solyndra has been sufficiently reported on, but you are right, it is somewhat related to the above question, which is when do campaign contributions reach the level of bribery. Of course, you would expect business interests to donate to the candidate who values what they do, so a solar energy provider donating to Obama is expected, just as his support for that industry would be. That’s another distinction between the actions of Ryan and Siegelman, you’d expect Ryan to advocate for a constituent business, whereas Siegelman appointed a Republican to a Health Care board – it was contrary to expectation and therefore suspicious. The law suggests there must be a quid pro quo relationship, though it doesn’t have to be explicit. My point with the post above is that the law is nebulous on the topic, and one person’s actions that send him to jail are very similar to another’s whose actions are not illegal. Such are the vagaries of campaign finance law.

      2) as to my agenda. I have done several posts on campaign finance for this site. If I recall correctly, one was critical of a sitting Democratic representative, two of the state Democratic party( including the first one mentioned), and a third which attempted to illustrate a similar point as the above using 3 examples, two from dems and one from a republican.

      3) I assume you are referencing my synopsis of the Brennan report. Nowhere did I say that Georgia was “suppressing voters”. However, I think that criticism of Voter ID laws is valid OVERALL in the Southeast but not necessarily in Georgia.

      4) I still don’t see how any of this is the equivalent of saying Obama is an alien, but I appreciate the feedback – though instead of “Trash”, we libs prefer the term “recyclables”.

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