Former Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, who was convicted of bribery, will now be spending three years in prison. This is in response to a federal appeal court finding his initial sentence of probation too lenient. He is expected to be resentenced in the District Court of Oklahoma next week.

Morgan was supposed to have accepted personal payments in exchange for influencing legislative action in the capitol. The prosecuting attorney argued he should receive a harsher sentence because his political position makes his bribery conviction even more serious.

Of course, it’s important to send the message that political power and influence is not above the law, but I still can’t help thinking about all the legalized influencing that is going on at the capitol.

Isn’t what the organization American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) does just a legalized way to influence legislative action? ALEC is funded by corporate membership, legislative membership paid out of public funds and campaign funds that are reimbursed by ALEC, and grants from foundations, corporations, and other donors. The corporate representatives work with legislators on task forces and working groups where they help drafts bills that are introduced by legislators back to the capitol. ALEC also has a number of governing boards that meet annually that have a big influence over many of bills passed. Corporations benefit from the bills as they are written and voted on with their interests in mind.

Or what about campaign financing? Isn’t it just a legalized way of influencing legislative action by allowing donations to campaigns to encourage legislators to protect the interests of donors?

But I guess with such full prisons it wouldn’t be right to elevate the above examples to the level of criminality at some future time or would it?


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