DC Federal Bribery Attorney

In a perfect world, decisions as to who to hire or who succeeds in business would come down to the quality of the work provided by an individual or organization. In reality, sometimes the old clichés fit; “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Often, in business and politics, adopting such a philosophy seems to be the only way to get ahead. While networking and offering service and value are certainly among the most valuable ways to gain mutually beneficial relationships, offering gifts, kickbacks, and other “incentives” for doing business, extending contracts, or influencing policy may be a violation of federal bribery laws. If you are uncertain whether your transactions could land you in serious legal trouble, it would be beneficial for you to speak with a DC federal bribery lawyer. Or, if you need help with a different kind of federal investigation, follow that link.

Bribery is the offer, provision, request, or demand for money or any other thing of value in exchange for influencing official actions or inducing a public official to act outside his or her lawful scope of duty. While bribery is addressed in several sections of the United States Code, the general federal bribery statute is found in 18 U.S.C. Section 201, which deals with the bribery of public officials and witnesses.

Bribery of Public Officials in DC

“Public officials” are defined in the code as elected officials, appointed officials, those employed by or acting on behalf of a United States government branch or agency, political nominees, and jurors. As the nation’s capital, Washington, DC is the hub of federal public officials. Therefore, the opportunity for bribery is rampant.

In a bribery case, both the person or entity offering the bribe and the public official accepting and induced to act as a result of the bribe can be found guilty of the crime.

Section 201b deals with the bribery of public officials. Under this section, it is a felony to directly or indirectly give, offer, promise, demand, seek, or accept anything of value in order to:

  • Influence a public official or be influenced to perform an official act;
  • Influence a public official or be influenced to commit fraud;
  • Induce a public official or be induced to commit any act in violation of the official duty.

Bribery of Witnesses

Just as it is a crime to offer, promise, or give anything of value to a public official in an attempt to influence or induce the official to act a certain way, it is a crime to try to influence witness testimony, to induce a witness not to testify, or to sway a juror’s opinion through bribery.

Federal Bribery Penalties

Public policy is not intended to be sold to the highest bidder. In an attempt to ferret out corruption, the United States government doles out harsh punishment for those convicted of bribery.

A federal bribery conviction will be accompanied by a heavy fine—up to three times the monetary value of the item or cash offered or accepted in the bribe. Not only does a conviction carry a significant financial impact, it also brings the possibility of an extensive prison term—a maximum of 15 years. Beyond prison and fines, a public official convicted of asking for or accepting a bribe will likely be disqualified from his or her position and may be barred from seeking public office in the future. Many professionals also suffer irreparable damage to their business and reputation.

DC Federal Bribery Attorney

The crime of bribery goes far beyond doing favors for a colleague and extends into an attempt to give or receive unlawful compensation for performing official acts in a certain way, or for acting in violation of one’s official duties. Being accused of offering or accepting a bribe can have lifelong personal and professional ramifications. Given the propensity for such allegations, and the near unlimited resources that federal agencies have at their disposal, those who have been charged or who believe they may be charged with federal bribery in DC should seek the appropriate legal counsel as soon as possible. You will need an attorney who is equally skilled and aggressive, and who is able to handle everything from a full battle for exoneration in the court, to deftly maneuvering the best possible plea agreement if a conviction appears unavoidable. In such cases, having an attorney who will work to limit your exposure, and mitigate any possible penalties, is crucial. Contact an attorney today to schedule a no-cost consultation.