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Sheldon Silver, former speaker of the New York state Assembly, exits from federal court in New York, on May 11, 2018. Silver was found guilty of federal corruption charges. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg

In the years since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016), courts have required prosecutors to be more focused when alleging and proving that an “official act” has been performed in exchange for a bribe in violation of mail and wire fraud statutes and the Hobbs Act. In McDonnell, Chief Justice John Roberts was mindful of the ways in which our representative government functions. “Conscientious public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf, and include them in events all the time. The basic compact underlying representative government assumes that public officials will hear from their constituents and act appropriately on their concerns.” Id. at 2372.

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