Blagojevich ruling draws line on what is, isn’t corruption
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals not only tossed several convictions against Rod Blagojevich in ruling this week on the imprisoned ex-governor's appeal.
The Chicago-based court also tried to answer a question legal observers said Wednesday has gone largely unanswered: When does an official cross the line into illegal political horse-trading?
Tuesday's ruling focused on the Illinois Democrat's bid to trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat for cash or top job.
It says the determining factor is money. The court overturned counts where a personal financial benefit to Blagojevich wasn't an issue and upheld ones where a financial benefit was clear.
Former prosecutor Jeff Cramer says the court set the bar too low. But political-reform campaigner David Melton says it struck the right balance.