The focus of the article is a recent case in Alabama, which the Supreme Court chose not to hear. The key piece of information is that judges in the lower courts are pleading for more clarity.
Federal law makes it a crime to corruptly solicit or accept money with the intent of being rewarded or influenced in official actions, and prosecutors have said campaign contributions can be part of such a scheme.
The Supreme Court’s guidance on the issue is thin. In 1991, it ruled that a campaign contribution could be a bribe if prosecutors proved a quid pro quo — that the contribution was “made in return for an explicit promise or undertaking by the official to perform or not to perform an official act.”
In a subsequent case, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the quid pro quo need not be expressly stated. But lower courts have differed, since then, on exactly what standards apply.
Read the whole thing.