Public Officials and Bribery in DC

Federal laws define a public official as a member of Congress, an officer or employee of the U.S. government, or any person who acts on behalf of or with the authority of an agency, branch, or department of the government. When a public official is accused of abusing their authority and the trust of the public, they could be prosecuted under bribery laws. A seasoned attorney in DC could help clear accusations if a public official is facing allegations of bribery.

What are Public Corruption Laws Meant to Do?

Public corruption laws are meant to discourage officials from abusing their positions of trust for personal gain. There are many laws that criminalize public corruption, but the most common ones are bribery and accepting illegal gratuities. These laws penalize figures for reaping financial gain using their status as a government employee, an elected official, or another person in a position of public trust.

State and Local Government Officials

Typically, to be federally charged with bribery, a public official must be a federal employee. The only exception is that the laws include members of the DC government and any juror in the district. Employees of state administrations are usually excluded under federal bribery laws, but because the District of Columbia is considered a federal district, it applies to council members, officers, and employees of the DC government.

Official Acts Under Federal Law

An official act under federal bribery law is defined as any decision or action of concern to a public figure on any matter, proceeding, or controversy, either pending or law. It does not refer to a public official’s personal interests or acts pertaining to politics.

Official acts as they relate to bribery laws are broadly defined as a public decision being swayed by another through the gifting or offering of something valuable. A legal professional could help an individual determine whether an official act could be considered corrupt under the law.

Penalties for Bribery Convictions

A person convicted of federal bribery charges could face up to 15 years in prison, fines up to three times the value of the bribe, and permanent disqualification from ever holding an office or position of trust in the US government again. These penalties apply equally to the person offering or giving the bribe as they do to the public official requesting or accepting the bribe.

These penalties are considered to be the maximum, however, any person convicted under federal bribery laws would still be subjected to the voluntary sentencing guidelines established by the United States Sentencing Commission. This allows for a range of possible penalties depending on specific factors in the case, including the number of bribes, the total amount of the offering, the defendant’s criminal history, and a number of other factors that could apply.

A DC Bribery Defense Attorney Could Help Public Officials Facing Federal Charges Gain Relief

A DC attorney can explain more about public corruption, official acts, and federal bribery laws. They could help you protect yourself from bribery allegations and restore your reputation back to full strength. Call and set up a consultation to learn about your legal options today.