THE CALIBER OF people we have in Congress that the leadership even thinks that negotiating on votes is a viable option.
I mean, if a legislator were principled, his vote would be known in advance to a great degree of certainty. Nor would he budge off it, though he might play it close to seek advantage for his constituents. So the idea that a congresscritter can be moved off a position in exchange for promises of goods and money received (or provided for said critter to be seen to disburse) is — or looks to me, at any rate — like prima facie evidence of intent to defraud. Not terribly strong, unless the vote actually does change, but strong enough to call for extra scrutiny come election time.
And a critter who hems and haws and dances along between the pointy ends of the pickets shows extreme bad faith. Saying in effect, “I can be bought for the right price.”
And it looks as though nobody in Washington considers this criminal activity.