Public corruption is a broad term that encompasses almost any kind of misuse of a public office or government position for one’s own private gain.
Most commonly, public corruption is related to offering, actually giving or being on the receiving end of favorable treatment in exchange for money or something else of value — which is called bribery. It’s a serious crime that is aggressively pursued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies.
The FBI actually considers bribery to be a tremendous threat to national security because it undermines the way that democracy and the American government is supposed to work. Public corruption can affect virtually every important function and structure in the nation — from the way that roads are maintained to the way that justice is handed out in a courtroom.
Some of the other types of public corruption that can fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI include:
- The extortion of a public official or government employee
- Government fraud, including fraud by contractors, false claims for federal benefits, and Medicare or Medicaid fraud
- Kickbacks, which is where one party gives another party a financial reward in exchange for preferential treatment
- Prison corruption, including the use of prison officials to smuggle contraband into the prisons
- Border corruption, which allows things like illegal alien smuggling and drug trafficking in exchange for bribes or kickbacks to the Border Patrol
- Election crimes, including campaign finance fraud and voter fraud
This is only a partial list of the types of crimes that can fall under the label “public corruption.” In general, although these are white collar crimes that are usually primarily financial in nature, conviction brings incredibly harsh consequences.
If you believe that you are being investigated by the FBI on suspicion of public corruption, do not delay your search for legal assistance. Never assume that you’ll be cleared simply because you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s wisest to seek advice about how to protect your rights immediately.