“NO” on Leahy-Cornyn Amendment

This week, the Senate may vote on the Leahy-Cornyn Amendment to the STOCK Act (S.2038).  The amendment would undo a unanimous Supreme Court decision (United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers) and expand a fraud law that was so vague and overbroad that another unanimous Supreme Court decision (Skilling v. United States) found it necessary to narrow the definition to avoid injustice.

The bill increases penalties for numerous offenses where there is no evidence that current penalties are inadequate to deter or adequately punish those who violate the law.  Furthermore, the bill ignores the proper limitations on Congress’s constitutional authority and the principles of federalism by further expanding the federal criminal code in an attempt to criminalize broadly defined self-dealing by local officials, even where the conduct concerns wholly local matters.  The amendment’s overbroad definitions, overlapping and expanded penalties without adequate justification, and federalization of local conduct are prime examples of overcriminalization. 

Heritage Action opposes the Leahy-Cornyn Amendment and will include the vote on cloture as a key vote in our scorecard. 

Related Links:
Heritage Actions Scorecard
Senate’s Public Corruption Move Raises Overcriminalization Concerns
Overcriminalization and the Constitution
Overcriminalization: Legislations and Criminal Law
Overcriminalization: An Explosion of Federal Criminal Law
Overcriminalization: Sacrificing the Rule of Law in Pursuit of Justice