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It’s Getting Chilly: Federal Courts Continue to Wrestle With Impact of Aggressive DOJ Public Corruption Cases

In an environment of aggressive federal prosecution and regulation both businesses and public officials are challenged to identify the permissible line between proper financial transactions — things like campaign contributions and business entertainment — and unlawful payments. And, in what the First Circuit called a “novel theory of Hobbs Act extortion,” public officials now have to struggle with the scope of permissible advocacy — when does advocacy for constituents become extortion?

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In an environment of aggressive federal prosecution and regulation both businesses and public officials are challenged to identify the permissible line between proper financial transactions — things like campaign contributions and business entertainment — and unlawful payments. And, in what the First Circuit called a “novel theory of Hobbs Act extortion,” public officials now have to struggle with the scope of permissible advocacy — when does advocacy for constituents become extortion? United States v. Brissette, 919 F.3d 670, 684 (2019).

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