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Public Corruption

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 47 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2010 Pages: 915-960
Stephanie E. Lapidus; Mariya Mogilevich
Date Published
46 pages
This article reviews Federal statutes that define the elements and penalties associated with acts by public officials that involve bribery, gratuities, and unauthorized compensation that may influence how they exercise the responsibilities of their office; possible defenses to such charges are also outlined.
One section of the article reviews the elements of, defenses to, and penalties for Federal bribery and illegal gratuity offenses. Elements of these offenses are defined in section 201 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. In order to prove bribery, the prosecution must generally establish that a thing of value was given, offered, or promised to (or, in the case of a recipient, demanded, sought, received, or accepted by) a present or future public official for an "official act," with corrupt intent or intent to influence (or be influenced). The critical distinction between bribery and illegal gratuity is that the former requires proof of intent while the latter does not. Allowable defenses outlined for these charges pertain to entrapment, due process, and duress or coercion, with some mention of other defenses as well. Regarding penalties for these offenses, statutory provisions and recommendations of U.S. Sentencing Guidelines are explained. Another section of the article explores the elements of and defenses to the unauthorized compensation offenses, and it explores statutory provisions that limit the activities of Federal officers and employees during and after their terms of employment. This is followed by a section that analyzes the statutory provisions that govern participation by government officials in activities in which the official has a financial interest, as well as provisions that prohibit improper acceptance of outside salaries. The article's concluding section explains the penalties that the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines advise for officials who are convicted of using public office for private gain. 376 notes


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