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Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Beefed-Up Anti-Corruption Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation Thursday morning that would strengthen anti-corruption laws and provide $100 million more for corruption investigations over the next four years.

The bipartisan bill, known as the Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act, also will extend the statue of limitations for the most serious public corruption offenders.

“We introduced the bill to strengthen and clarify key aspects of federal criminal law and provide new tools to help law enforcement combat public corruption nationwide,” said bill co-sponsor and Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) at the start of the markup.

Leahy sponsored the measure, which passed by a voice vote, with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Two amendments, however, sponsored by ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), were rejected. The amendments aimed to clarify the treatment of bona fide campaign contributions and to require “ knowingly and corrupt” conduct for a bribery prosecution to occur.

Leahy praised the Senate for passing ethics reform legislation earlier this year and joked throughout the markup that he’s waiting on a Red Sox baseball cap from the team.

“Accepting a token item like a baseball cap in compliance with Senate Rules is not a criminal violation,” he said.

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