Lawyers for Gov. and Mrs. McDonnell are spending this rainy Richmond day doing what no one could have imagined a few months ago: pleading with the federal government not to indict the couple on corruption charges.

Regardless of what one thinks of the McDonnells, this is a sad turn of events. But today’s events also beg a question: Should they be indicted? And if they are, will any jury buy the prosecutors’ arguments?

The McDonnells have apparently broken no laws, even as they exhibited astonishingly poor judgement.

But social faux pas and nitwittery are not federal offenses. Unless the feds know much more than has been reported (or rather, leaked) in the papers, then there just doesn’t seem to be much of a case here.

This does not mean there isn’t a very big problem here in River City. The gift culture is rampant. Look down the list of gifts given to elected officials over the years. Trips, dinners, trinkets. Not a one of these gifts would have been given had the recipient not been an elected official. None of it is illegal. All of it is tawdry.

[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]

Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.