The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Isaac States (defendant) for using the mail system to defraud state election officials. The applicable federal mail fraud originally contained a single clause that prohibited using the postal system in "any scheme or artifice to defraud." Congress later added a second clause, relating to any scheme or artifice "for obtaining money or property." States argued that the two clauses were conjunctive, so that the money or property qualification modified both clauses. States moved to dismiss the indictment, because it did not allege that he conducted his offenses to gain money or property. The trial court refused to dismiss the indictment. After States was tried and convicted, he appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.