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United States v. Thompson
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
484 F.3d 877 (2007)
Georgia Thompson (defendant) was a Wisconsin state employee who was responsible for administering the award of state contracts to travel agencies. Thompson oversaw a competitive-bidding process between a number of travel agencies. Thompson steered the awarding of the contract to Adelman Travel Group. Adelman had been the lowest-cost bidder, but another agency had received higher ratings on other award criteria and had a higher total score. Thompson advocated that the contract should be awarded to Adelman, despite its lower total score. After the contract was rebid for on a best-and-final basis, the scores between Adelman and the other agency were tied. Adelman prevailed following a tie-breaking process and was awarded the contract. Adelman was a Wisconsin-based company, whose owner had made political contributions to the Wisconsin governor, all of which were legal and appropriately reported. Thompson apparently steered the contract toward Adelman because she knew her boss, a political appointee, preferred Adelman over the other, out-of-state bidders. Thompson was given a $1,000 pay raise three months after the contract was awarded. Thompson was charged with federal crimes for violating 18 U.S.C. § 666 and § 1341 prohibiting corruption and bribery related to programs receiving federal funds. The prosecution rested on the assumption that the Adelman contract played a role in Thompson’s raise and charged that Thompson had misapplied government funds to Adelman from the other travel agency. No kickbacks or similar impropriety was alleged. Thompson was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Thompson appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, C.J.)
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