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Should returning a bribe later let lawmakers off the hook?

JustMyPOV

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The Story

I don't want to approach this debate in a partisan manner, so I'll begin by saying that whether it was a Republican or a Democrat in this position, I'd feel the same way on the topic. The article I linked to also mentions a Democrat returning a contribution, though, said Democrat claims never to have met the notorious donor.

An elected official accepts a large campaign contribution and votes in a manner beneficial to the donor's interests. By the grace of loopholes in the laws, this somehow becomes "legal", but at the very least, it is morally and ethically wrong to accept money or gifts in exchange for political favors.

That aside, I don't feel that returning the money when that particular sort of behavior is brought out publicly should let that official "off the hook". If a police officer accepted $100 from me to let me off with a warning (I'm not suggesting this could or would ever happen), and then later, when an investigation into the matter came up he/she returned my money to me, I don't think it would get the officer out of trouble. It shouldn't get elected officials out of trouble either, in my opinion.
 

UtahBill

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They should have to pay back triple, in fines paid to the taxpayer, and serve time. The ones paying the bribes should get the same.
 
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Stace

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No, they shouldn't be let off the hook....because it's not like they can go back and change their vote while they're at it. The damage isn't completely undone.
 

Kandahar

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I guess it depends on the situation. Obviously it's better to return the bribe than not return the bribe under almost ANY circumstance, but simply returning it is not always enough. It depends on whether or not the politician personally knew about the bribe at the time, and whether he returned the bribe only after a media and/or criminal investigation.

If some underling accepted the bribe on behalf of his boss, and the money was returned immediately after the politician found out about it, I think it lets him off the hook.
 
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I think they should keep the money, after all, haven’t they earned it for services rendered? It’s not like they’re gonna rescind all the favorable legislature they passed while under its influence, so they might as well keep it. Is the American public really stupid enough to believe giving back the money makes everything alright?
I think that politicians convicted of accepting bribes should have the words “Ca$h Whore” branded into their forehead, have their citizenship revoked and exiled to some third world country.
 

aps

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I think returning the bribe is appropriate, but the lawmaker REGARDLESS should be held liable for the bribe. Sorry, folks, crimes are often all about INTENT. If I go in to rob a bank and I am unsuccessful, I am still charged with the intent to rob a bank. If the lawmaker accepted the bribe with the intent to accept it and act on it, GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY.

I felt sorry for Cunningham when they showed him breaking down on TV; however, when I really thought about this issue, I realized that this man wasn't breaking down because he felt true remorse over what he had done. If he had felt true remorse, at some point, he would have stopped accepting bribes and confessed. That's not what happened--he was CAUGHT, and that's what his tears were based upon--the humiliation of being caught being a damned criminal. I have no sympathy for someone who expresses regret ONLY when they are caught. Crocodile tears is all I see.
 

libertarian_knight

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First, there is a distinction between a bribe, and an other "unlawful contribution." They may be one in the same, or different, or accounting errors or whatever.

So, an actual bribe should be returned plus bribe multiplied by 41 times. 1/2 of the total goes to the IRS, the other 1/2 goes to charities (21 times bribe to each set). Plus, of course, they should serve time, and have to pay that back also.

Congressman accepts $10,000 worth of bribes, therefor 420,000 has to be returned, 210,000 to the IRS (or state) and 210,000 to charities.

Should the congressperson not be able to pay it back, 20 hours per week community service at min wage (unpaid obviously) until they do, after time served. (20 hours will allow them to "get a real" job too, and they can also use that money to satisify the debt).
 
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