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U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

The Supreme Court’s recent unanimous opinion in Kelly v. United States is the latest in a series of high court decisions curtailing the power of federal law enforcement to prosecute public corruption. Stemming from the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal, in which New Jersey officials intentionally caused a days-long traffic jam to serve the governor’s re-election campaign, the case confirms that only a narrow band of corrupt practices by state or local officials runs afoul of federal fraud statutes—typically those that involve a concrete showing of cash flowing into the official’s pockets in exchange for official action.

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