The Daily Journal reports:
Robert Moultrie, the founder of The Facility Group, must serve 16 months in federal prison for his guilty plea to a charge of paying an illegal gratuity to then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 2003. District Court Judge Michael Mills ordered Moultrie to surrender by 2 p.m. on Jan. 20.
The case dates to September 2003, when Musgrove asked Moultrie for a campaign contribution, and Moultrie complied with a $25,000 donation from his political action committee. Moultrie knew that a state-backed beef processing plant that was in the works was having problems.
“The contribution was not made in order to guarantee any specific assistance, rather it was made in hopes of gaining good will that may be needed if future problems with the plant arise,” according to a memo submitted on Moultrie’s behalf.
Last week, another Facility Group executive, C.K. Morehead, was sentenced to 10 months for his role in the case. Nixon Cawood, a third Facility Group executive, will be sentenced in January.
A press release on the case is here. The case feeds the long-standing issues surrounding the treatment of otherwise permissible contributions as illegal gratuities or bribes. This Hill article gets at the issue.
There is growing concern among lobbyists about the scrutiny their fundraising activities will face from interested parties — such as competitors, public interest groups and law enforcement officials. These groups will examine whether a contribution made to the lawmaker with whom a lobbyist is working was actually a bribe or an illegal gratuity.
The White Collar Crime Prof Blog has a look at the legal authorities on the topic.