United States v. Boender, No. 10-2652 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
In 2004, defendant spent approximately $38,000 on home repairs for a Chicago alderman, a crucial player in defendant's attempt to have industrial property rezoned for commercial and residential development. Defendant also convinced business associates to donate, at his expense, to the alderman's aunt's congressional campaign. During an investigation, defendant fabricated an invoice for the home repairs, purportedly sent from his general contractor to defendant. The Seventh Circuit affirmed convictions for bribing a local official (18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(2)); exceeding federal campaign contribution limits through straw-man donations (Federal Election Campaign Act, 2 U.S.C. 441a(a)(1),441f & 437g(d)(1)(A)(ii)); and endeavoring to obstruct justice (18 U.S.C. 1503(a)). The government was not required to establish a specific quid pro quo of money in exchange for a legislative act. The district court acted within its discretion in holding an adversarial in camera hearing to determine the existence of the crime-fraud exception. Section 441f unambiguously proscribes straw man, as well as false name, contributions.