Would the Koch brothers be guilty of attempted bribery? Promising government officials something of value in return for an official act would seem to be the definition of attempted bribery. Or would they simply be exercising their First Amendment rights? Does your view change if you go back to Steyer and his concerns about global warming? In fact, unlike the Koch brothers — who espouse a more general conservative agenda — Steyer’s agenda seems far more targeted and, therefore, arguably more susceptible to the accusation that he is offering money in return for a specific government act.
Despite all the controversy over the mega-contributions of special interests like Steyer or the Koch brothers, I’ve yet to read a good analysis of when First Amendment-protected advocacy, now allowed by the Supreme Court to be backed by big bucks, becomes attempted bribery.
Some sample questions to explore: If Steyer says to a Democrat in a closed meeting that his political action committee will give $100,000 to the politician’s campaign if he or she promises to try to block the pipeline, is that an attempted bribe? (It does probably violate the restrictions against PACs coordinating directly with candidates.) But if he says publicly that his PAC will give $100,000 to any candidate who pledges to try to block the pipeline, does his offer become protected advocacy?
3. Economic storm clouds at Yankee Stadium?
n the baseball season’s first few televised games from Yankee Stadium, the premium seats behind home plate, along the baselines and behind the dugouts have seemed to be a third to half empty.
Sure, the weather has been less than ideal. But it leaves me wondering whether ever-escalating ticket prices have collided with the Yankees’ mediocre performance last year and iffy prospects this year to create problems for baseball’s most valuable franchise.
Someone ought to look at attendance figures, advance ticket sales and the TV ratings to see if there’s a story here.
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