Inside the Larry Inman Charges: Solicitation of a Bribe

There are three charges against Larry Inman:

  1. Interfering with commerce
  2. Solicitation of a bribe
  3. Lying to the FBI

Let’s talk about the second one, solicitation of a bribe. It’s a violation of US Code 18.666 – theft or bribery concerning programs with federal funds.

The violation Inman is charged with goes like this:

Anyone “being an agent…of a State…government…corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person…anything of value…intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction…of such organization…involving anything of value $5,000 or more.” The government agency must “in any one-year period, benefits in excess of $10,000 under a Federal program involving a grant..or other form of Federal assistance.” It goes on, “the term agent means…a representative.”

Inman writes this in his motion to dismiss the charges:

In his Motion to Dismiss, Inman says that he can’t be guilty because he’s not a representative of an organization that receives $10,000. Inman says that the Michigan House of Representatives and the State of Michigan are two different things. He says that because the federal government doesn’t specifically give money to the House of Representative (and just gives it to the State of Michigan, which Inman literally represents), that the law doesn’t apply to him. The law literally uses the word representative in the definition.
I’m getting dizzy from Inman’s circular logic. But the judge tipped his hand to want to read something into Citizen’s United that isn’t there, so perhaps he won’t even need to accept Inman’s mental gymnastics.
If Citizen’s United is a defense to politicians accepting bribes, then it’s also a defense for this guy.
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