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DC Federal Bribery Charges 

Federal bribery is an act by a public official as defined under the federal law under the federal government and includes the District of Columbia government. It also specifically includes the concept of fraud, not just that someone will do or not do something in their official capacity as a public official, but also that they would commit fraud or allow for an opportunity for fraud to be committed against the United States. Again, it is a broadening of the bribery concept in D.C. Code. If an individual faces DC federal bribery charges, it is imperative that they get in contact with an accomplished federal bribery attorney that could mount a solid defense for them.

Laws Regarding Federal Bribery

Under federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 201 is the bribery of public officials and witnesses. Under federal law, a public official can be a member of congress, a commissioner, a delegate, an officer, or an employee. A public official can also be a person acting on behalf of the United States or any department, agency, or branch of the United States government including the District of Columbia in any official function or under the authority of a department, agency, or branch of the government, or a juror.

What Constitutes Participation in Federal Bribery?

A person who qualifies as a public official can be considered to be involved in bribery when they:

  • Corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, or agree to receive or accept anything of value for themselves or for someone else in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act
  • Are influenced to commit or aid in committing, conspire to allow any kind of fraud, or make the opportunity for someone else to commit fraud in the United States
  • Are induced to do or omit doing any act of violation of their official duty

A public official does not have to be in federal office to face DC federal bribery charges. The person could be a juror or a member of the DC government. The person does not specifically have to be in federal office; although the federal bribery statute does cover public officials who are in federal office as well.

How People Who are Not Public Officials Participate in Bribery

A person who is not a public official is considered to be involved in bribery when they attempt to bribe a public official by corruptly giving, offering, or promising to give a thing of value to the public official to influence their official acts. It is also considered bribery if a person tries to influence a public official to collude or allow any kind of fraud against the United States or induce them to do any act of violation of their laws and duties as an official.

There is not much difference in who qualifies under the federal bribery statute compared to the D.C. Code for bribery. The public official includes all of the branches of federal government and it also includes the District of Columbia government. It encompasses the District of Columbia government and the federal level. It punishes the same conduct, but it widens the scope of who may be committing that conduct.

Severity of Charges

Under federal law, someone convicted of bribery faces up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000, or three times the amount of the bribe, whichever is greater. Due to the severity of DC federal bribery charges, it is important for individuals to work with an experienced federal defense attorney that could mitigate the severity of the penalties that a person may face.

What Constitutes Federal Bribery Through Gift-Giving?

There must be an agreement that the public official will act or decide some issue in exchange for receiving something of value For giving a gift to constitute bribery. That might be a monetary or non-monetary gift. A gift done after the fact is an illegal gratuity when there was no expectation or agreement by the parties that the act is done by the public official in exchange for that gift. The value of the gift does not matter for it to be considered a bribe. It only matters with regard to the potential fine. A bribe of $1,000,000 under the federal code can result in penalties of up to three times that amount which is $3,000,000. That greatly exceeds the normal statutory fine of $250,000.

Any bribe less than a third of $250,000 means the maximum monetary penalty for a conviction does not exceed $250,000. In that sense, the value of the gift or bribe matters; it does not matter with regard to whether a bribe was solicited, offered, or given. A person can literally bribe someone with a lollipop if there is a public official willing to change their vote based on the promise of receiving a lollipop. If an individual wants to know more about DC federal bribery charges and illegal gratuity, they should consult a knowledgeable lawyer that could answer their questions.

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