Reaction to Supreme Court overturning McDonnell convictions

WASHINGTON — Here is reaction to the Supreme Court ruling Monday overturning the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“Bob will be the first to tell you he takes responsibility for his actions, but he is a good man with an honest heart. I have always been proud to call him my friend. Throughout this process, and even in the darkest hour, the depth of Bob’s character was on full display. His faith never wavered. He was a source of strength to his family. And he lifted the spirits of his friends and supporters when we should have been lifting his. Above all, his belief in the justice system persevered. That belief, and Bob McDonnell, were vindicated today.”

— Bill Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates

“I am delighted to learn that my friend Bob McDonnell received such an overwhelming verdict from the Supreme Court. I believe this case was legally flawed from its inception. My best wishes are with Bob and his family, who have endured this torturous process for many months. My prayers and fondest hopes are with his family as they reassemble their lives.”

— Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge

“Legal experts in the field were at a loss to explain to politician clients what they could or could not do for constituents in light of this ruling. Every member of the General Assembly had done a hundred times as much for various constituents as Bob McDonnell did for Jonnie Williams.

The decision to prosecute Bob McDonnell stinks of political corruption.”

— Sen. Dick Black, R-Leesburg

“I condemn the behavior that was engaged in. And I don’t believe the McDonnells are heroic figures at all. They engaged in a level of greed and self-aggrandizement that I think shamed Virginia and shocked us all. Having said that, was their behavior illegal? That’s a different question, and that has to rise to a higher standard than my disapproval of their greedy behavior.

That’s why we have a Supreme Court to adjudicate things like this however popular or unpopular that adjudication may be. And we got unanimous guidance today from an otherwise divided court. I think that’s an important message to prosecutors that if you are going to take somebody to trial, including public officials, you better have the goods. You better have an ironclad case that proves the quo to the quid.”

— Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax County

“This narrow reading of the law will seriously impede law enforcement’s efforts to clamp down on corruption. The Supreme Court essentially just told elected officials that they are free to sell access to their office to the highest bidder. If you want the government to listen to you, you had better be prepared to pay up.”

— Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

“Today’s ruling makes it even more difficult to protect our democracy from attempts by officeholders to peddle political access and influence to the highest bidder. This entire case could have been avoided if Virginia had taken the necessary and vital steps to prohibit the receipt of huge gifts from people who have business before the government.”

— Tara Malloy, deputy executive director for the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center

The Associated Press and WTOP congressional correspondent Dave McConnell contributed to this report.

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