Public Corruption

18 USCS § 201 (2005)

The Crime

It is a crime under section 201(b) for a person to

  • directly or indirectly "corruptly" give, offer, or promise anything of value to a public official (former, current, or future) with the intent
    • to influence an official act,
    • to influence a public official to commit a fraud on the United States, or
    • to influence a public official to violate his or her lawful duty as a public official. 18 U.S.C. 201(b)(1).
  • be a public official (former, current, or future) and directly or indirectly, "corruptly" demand, seek, receive, accept, or agree to receive or accept anything of value in exchange
    • for being influenced in the performance of any official act,
    • for being influenced to commit a fraud on the United States, or
    • for being induced to violate his or her lawful duty as a public official. Id. § 201(b)(2).
  • directly or indirectly, "corruptly" give, offer, or promise anything of value to any person, with the intent to influence testimony under oath in a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before a court, any committee of either House of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by United States law to hear such testimony. Id. § 201(b)(3).
  • demand, seek, receive, or accept such corrupt gifting or offers is also a federal crime. Id. § 201(b)(4).

It is a crime under section 201(c) to

  • Other than as provided by law
    • directly or indirectly give, offer, or promise anything of value to any public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official; or
    • be a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly demand, seek, receive, accept, or agree to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such official or person; 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(1)
  • directly or indirectly, give, offer, or promise anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court, any committee of either House or both Houses of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony, or for or because of such person's absence therefrom; Id. § 201(c)(2);
  • directly or indirectly, demand, seek, receive, accept, or agree to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon any such trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or for or because of such person's absence therefrom; id. § 201(c)(3).

The Punishment

The punishment for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b) is

  • a fine, imprisonment for not more than fifteen years, or both.

That person may also be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States. 18 U.S.C. § 201(b) The Punishment for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(c) is

  • a fine, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.