The 2016 Supreme Court Ruling in the Corruption Case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell narrowed the Definition of what constitutes an "Official Act" under Federal Bribery Laws, concluding that Public Officials Setting Up Meetings, Calling other Public Officials, or Hosting Events in Exchange for Gifts, Favors, or Donations did not meet the Threshold. It basically said if the Act was not completed for the possible bribe, it was not Illegal.
The Court's Decision came several months after Federal Prosecutors began their Investigation into New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's Fundraising Practices, and months before those Prosecutors ultimately decided not to bring any Charges against either de Blasio or his Aides, not because they'd found No Evidence of Quid Pro Quo, but because of both the high burden of Proof they faced, and the difficulty of proving Corruption without "evidence of personal profit."
Which could explain why, over the course of the last year, Two Donors to de Blasio's Campaign efforts have pleaded Guilty to Bribery of the Mayor's Office, even after No Charges have been filed against anyone in the Mayor's Office.
The first was Jona Rechnitz, who has said he donated Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to the Mayor's Campaigns and Causes in Exchange for Access to de Blasio, which he certainly got. And earlier this week, Long Island Restaurateur Harendra Singh's Guilty Plea in another Case was Unsealed, showing he pleaded Guilty to Donating to de Blasio in Exchange for Help from the City, in the form of Meetings arranged and Calls made as he sought to Renew a Lease on a waterfront restaurant.
It's worth noting the Donations and the Meetings that Donors pleaded Guilty to in their respective Quid Pro Quo schemes all took place before the Supreme Court made its determination that those Actions weren't Criminal under the New Federal Bribery Laws interpretation. De Blasio has insisted that He and his Aides "acted in a manner that was legal and appropriate and ethical throughout." Former Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, the Prosecutor who announced Charges wouldn't be filed against de Blasio and who recently Left the Office after a Nomination was made to replace him, took the rare step of issuing what appeared to be a Public Rebuke to the Mayor in the pages of a newspaper last week, calling on the Mayor to hold himself to Higher Standards. "As a private citizen, I certainly hope that a decision by a prosecutor not to bring criminal charges is not the standard that we should expect from our leaders."
A day after news broke about a longtime Campaign Donor secretly Pleading Guilty to Bribing a New York City Official, whose dealings are consistent with those of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Mayor’s Law Department filed formal notice that Taxpayers will Pay de Blasio’s related Legal Bills.
But, nearly a year after the U.S. Attorney said there was Insufficient Evidence to Charge anyone on de Blasio’s Team with a Crime, the Legal Fees are still being Negotiated, the Mayor’s Spokesman Eric Phillips said Thursday. “When there’s a final number,” Phillips wrote in an email, “we’ll release it.” Formal Notice by de Blasio’s Office that he intends to Bill Taxpayers for work done by the Law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP appeared in Thursday’s City Record, which puts the Public on Notice of Municipal Procurement.
Last year, de Blasio said he did not intend to Charge Taxpayers for Legal Bills related to Local and Federal Investigations of his Fundraising Tactics, which were criticized by State and Local Prosecutors. The Mayor changed his mind after the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board Ruled that if he set up a Legal-Defense Fund, it would need to obey Donation Caps governed by some of the Strictest Campaign-Finance Laws in the Country.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker