[JURIST] US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia [official profile, PDF] on Monday dissented [text, PDF] from the Court's denial of certiorari to a Chicago federal corruption case. Three former aides to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley [official profile] appealed their convictions on charges of mail fraud related to granting city jobs to political supporters. Appellants Robert Sorich, Timothy McCarthy, and Patrick Slattery asserted [Chicago Tribune report] that because they received no bribes or rewards for their actions, no federal offense was committed under the federal law [18 U.S.C. 1346, text] prohibiting employees from depriving citizens of "intangible services." Scalia commented on the loose wording of the federal corruption law, last updated in 1987, stating:
If the 'honest services' theorybroadly stated, that officeholders and employees owe a duty to act only in the best interests of their constituents and employersis taken seriously and carried to its logical conclusion, presumably the statute also renders criminal a state legislators decision to vote for a bill because he expects it will curry favor with a small minority essential to his reelection; a mayors attempt to use the prestige of his office to obtain a restaurant table without a reservation; a public employees recommendation of his incompetent friend for a public contract; and any self-dealing by a corporate officer. Indeed, it would seemingly cover a salaried employees phoning in sick to go to a ball game.Scalia was the only one to dissent, and the rest of the Court did not comment on why certiorari was not granted.
Last month the Illinois State Senate removed [JURIST report] then-governor Rod Blagojevich [JURIST news archive] from office for allegedly trying to sell the US Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested [JURIST report] in December on the same charges. Last year, former Illinois Governor George Ryan [JURIST news archive] began serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence [JURIST report] after being convicted of corruption and fraud in connection with a bribes-for-licenses scandal.