The Criminalization of Politics

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group

Event Video

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What actions are political and what actions are criminal? Where should prosecutors and courts draw the lines? How should we decide what actions should be evaluated at the ballot box and what actions should be evaluated in a court of law? This panel will discuss the recent use of criminal law to pursue public officials and political activity. A presentation of former high level Justice Department attorneys will look to recent prosecutions, such as those of Bob McDonnell and John Edwards, to evaluate whether our criminal law is wading too deeply into political activity. Relying on their expertise, the panelists will address a number of federal crimes, like Honest Services Fraud, used to pursue politicians, and discuss whether it is wise to put politics on trial, or whether the voters should decide.

The Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group hosted this event on December 11, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.


  • Mr. Todd P. Graves, Graves Garrett LLC
  • Mr. Edward T. Kang, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
  • Mr. John C. Richter, Partner, King & Spalding
  • Moderator: Mr. John G. Malcolm, Chairman, Federalist Society Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Executive Committee, and Director and Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation