Ciara Torres-Spelliscy with her views on this in the LA Times:
The Supreme Court recently reversed the conviction of a onetime aide and campaign manager for disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The decision may have surprised those who follow Albany’s culture of corruption, but it was thoroughly in keeping with the recent history of the Supreme Court. The Roberts court has been busy deregulating corruption for over a decade.
The court’s own ethics have come under renewed scrutiny lately thanks to revelations about Justice Clarence Thomas, among others. What’s less widely appreciated is the court’s accumulating record of making political corruption easier to engage in and harder to prosecute….
In the New York case, meanwhile, the justices relied on the fine distinction that most of Percoco’s malfeasance occurred during a brief interregnum between stints in state government, while he was working on Cuomo’s reelection campaign as a technically private citizen. The court wrote that “the intangible right of honest services … plainly does not extend a duty to the public to all private persons.”
With the next presidential contest gearing up, the Percoco ruling could further embolden unscrupulous campaign managers and aides. After all, the front-runner for the Republican nomination has already seen two former top campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, charged with federal crimes — and pardoned both of them. The Roberts court’s continuing campaign to excuse corruption by other means is bad for our democracy.