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Carte Blanche: Federal Prosecution of State and Local Officials After Sabri

George D. Brown

Boston College Law School

Catholic University Law Review, Forthcoming

Federal prosecutions of state and local officials for political corruption are a significant feature of the American political landscape. However, they raise serious federalism questions, especially the potential impact on state autonomy and sovereignty. Thus, these prosecutions would seem to run counter to the Supreme Court's "New Federalism." The Court has never explored the issue in depth. Last term it handed down a decision highly favorable to the federal role in the case of Sabri v. United States. This paper examines Sabri, and questions the rationale that the prosecution in that case was an example of justifiable protection of federal funds. The article offers an alternative perspective, namely, that the Court was anxious to further the anti-corruption imperative demonstrated in McConnell (the Campaign Finance Reform case). The article concludes with possible alternative rationales for a strong federal role in overseeing state and local governments and for a general anti-corruption statute.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 53

Keywords: political corruption, Section 666, mail fraud, Hobbs Act, federalism

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Date posted: October 5, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Brown, George D., Carte Blanche: Federal Prosecution of State and Local Officials After Sabri. Catholic University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=600595

Contact Information

George D. Brown (Contact Author)
Boston College Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
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