Quid Pro Quo Corruption is “So Yesterday”: Restoring Honest Services Fraud After Skilling and Black

4 Jan

Anita Cava
Brian M. Stewart

Posted Thursday, February 26, 2015

This article examines the honest services statute as it came to the United States Supreme Court and reflects on how the Skilling decision causes difficulty for those concerned with promoting more ethical business conduct. Focusing largely — but not exclusively –on the private sector, it argues that Congress needs to act and act quickly to provide a mechanism that will enable prosecutors to pursue the criminal wrongdoers who have wreaked havoc in business, especially as of late.  Part I briefly reviews the origins of the mail and wire fraud statutes, as well as the efforts by the legislature to draft and the judiciary to apply those statutes in an appropriate manner.  Part II sets the legal controversy over the honest services statute in the current context of the legal and ethical environment of business in the United States. Part III illustrates why the honest services statute is needed, in large part by examining the failure of civil and administrative mechanisms to effectively regulate unbridled misbehavior.  The article concludes with a plea for recognizing the broad gap between improper bribes and kickbacks, and permissible self-dealing, resulting in untold millions of ill-gotten gains.  An honest services fraud statute that bridges that gap is both necessary and proper in today’s business environment.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: