Public corruption

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Number of successful convictions by state of corrupted public officials between 1998-2007 (USA Today)

Public corruption is a term that refers to an abuse of power or position, or a breach of trust by an official either elected or appointed to public office, often involving an exchange of something of value for some type of personal or political benefit. A common example is bribery. Although bribery is criminalized at the federal level in a specific provision, Public Corruption is often prosecuted through the mail fraud statute. Specifically, these prosecutions are called "Honest Services Fraud," and is criminalized at 18 U.S.C. Section 1346. Section 1346 prohibits "a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services." Section 1346 is therefore effective since virtually all government functions touch the United States mails, and since properly fulfilling ones governmental duties qualifies as honest services.


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