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The Language of Bribery Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945139.001.0001

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The business transaction event that morphed into a bribery event: The case of Texas state legislator Billy Clayton

The business transaction event that morphed into a bribery event: The case of Texas state legislator Billy Clayton

Chapter:
(p.150) [9] The business transaction event that morphed into a bribery event: The case of Texas state legislator Billy Clayton
Source:
The Language of Bribery Cases
Author(s):

Roger W. Shuy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945139.003.0009

The FBI’s Brilab (bribery labor) sting operation mixed the three different speech events of a business transaction, a campaign contribution, and bribery in ways that confused the participants. The problem phase was clearly to get Texas to change its insurance plans, but during the negotiation phase the agents tried to make this look like a quid pro quo campaign contribution in exchange for getting the business. Clayton clearly separated the speech events. When agent then tried to convert the campaign contribution offer into a bribery speech event, Clayton said “no” and returned the separate topics of the insurance plan and the campaign contribution. The agent gave him $5,000, which Clayton clearly identified as a campaign contribution that he would have to report. Linguistic analysis of their conversation demonstrated conflicting schemas, agendas, speech acts, and conversational strategies, showing how the alleged smoking gun language was defused.

Keywords:   Brilab, speech event phases, speech event switching and recycling, schemas, agendas, speech acts, conversational strategies, smoking guns

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