Pubic corruption is a broad term that refers to a breach or abuse of the public's trust by a federal, state or local government official. Common crimes related to public corruption charges include bribery and money laundering, kickbacks and embezzlement, as well as wire and tax fraud. Due to the aggressive prosecution of federal crimes related to public corruption, public officials accused of such crimes face an uphill battle.
It was recently reported that a state senator in California was indicted for his alleged involvement in a federal crime involving bribery. According to prosecutors, the charges follow a federal investigation in which FBI agents posed as Hollywood movie executives and offered the senator bribes in exchange for the senator's agreement to steer legislation. The senator is accused of accepting around $100,000 in bribes.
According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, the 56-year-old senator is facing dozens of federal charges that range from bribery and fraud to money laundering. The senator's brother was also named in the federal indictment, according to prosecutors. The brother, a former California State Assembly member, was reportedly charged with conspiracy, as well as seven counts of money laundering.
The FBI is the primary agency entrusted with the task of investigating state and federal public corruption charges in the United States. According to the FBI, investigating public corruption is the agency's number one priority. Nevertheless, individuals accused of public corruption are still afforded every right available to any person accused of a crime in the United States. And, in the U.S. this includes a presumption of innocence.
Source: Reuters, "California lawmaker indicted on bribery, corruption charges," Dan Whitcomb, Feb. 21, 2014