A high profile mayoralty candidate who accepted a campaign donation in exchange for an offer of ‘political favours’ – filed a “no contest plea” to eight criminal charges, including: receiving unlawful compensation for official acts, accepting illegal campaign contributions and filing a false campaign financial report (it was co-signed by the candidate’s treasurer). The candidate, who was recorded on video accepting the donation from an undercover enforcement agent posing as a businessman seeking “access” favours, has been sentenced to a 22.4 month jail term, fined, and required to do 200 hours of community service on release from incarceration.
Is this a case of “entrapment” involving an innocent scapegoat, as claimed? Should donations to political candidates entitle donors “access” to donation recipients? What community standards should we seek to uphold in creating laws relating to political campaign contributions? Where does the fine line exist between the “letter” and the “spirit” of the law relating to these compliance matters? [Read more...]