Lowenstein Speaks on Silberman Judicial Bribery Case

Following up on this post, Dan Lowenstein sent this response to the election law listserv, which I am now reprinting with his permission.

Since Rick was imprudent enough to request my take on this case, here it is.  In my opinion, the California statute (and any similar statutes that may exist) should be construed to apply only to personal as opposed to political benefits offered to a potential candidate to induce him to drop out or not to run.  Admittedly, I am made uneasy by the fact that the language of the California statute does not suggest such a distinction.  But the statute, if construed to apply to political benefits, sweeps much too broadly.  Statutes, like other utterances, are and should be understood to be sensible.  For an explanation of why applying the statute to political benefits is not sensible, see my article referred to in the casebook.

Based on a cursory skim of the LA Times story that Rick links on his blog, Mr. Silberman is accused of offering to reimburse the other candidate’s filing fee.  It’s hard to tell based on that information alone whether he (allegedly) offered a personal or political benefit.

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