Although there is little dispute that the mail fraud statute has become a valuable part of a federal prosecutor's arsenal, for years legal scholars have debated the extent to which the mail fraud statute should be used to prosecute corrupt state and local officials. In recent years, largely in response to the large number of high profile honest services fraud prosecutions, even members of the mainstream news media are beginning to seek guidance regarding the definition of honest services mail fraud. As noted by Professor George Brown, though the controversy over whether the national government should be responsible for prosecuting state and local corruption is not new, "it seems increasingly important as the Supreme Court expands the reach of its federalism decisions, sometimes applying the 'new federalism' with a vengeance." In recent months, the Supreme Court has broken its silence on this issue and appears poised to consider this issue for the first time in twenty-two years.
George E.B. Holding, Dennis M. Duffy, and John Stuart Bruce, Federal Prosecution of State and Local Officials Using Honest Services Mail Fraud: Where's the Line?, 32 Campbell L. Rev. 191 (2010).