Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Official Corruption Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during May 2019 the government reported 33 new official corruption prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 38.9 percent over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with official corruption-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (see Table 1).
When monthly 2019 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was up (16.1%).
Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 18.5 percent from levels reported in 2014.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Official Corruption Prosecutions
The decrease from the levels five years ago in official corruption prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of official corruption prosecutions of this type recorded on a month-to-month
basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court,
the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends.
The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so
that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.
Within the broad category of official corruption, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
Case types within official corruption are
Federal Corruption - Procurement
Federal Corruption - Program
Federal Corruption - Law Enforcement
Federal Corruption - Other
Other Public Corruption
The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in May 2019 was for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Other", accounting for 24.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Law Enforcement" (21.2%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Other" (21.2%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Local" (18.2%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-State" (9.1%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Program" (6.1%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for official corruption prosecutions in May 2019
was FBI accounting for 48 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of official corruption referrals were:
Justice Other (15% ), Postal (12%), DHS (9%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Figure 3. Prosecutions by Investigative Agency
Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In May 2019, 2 defendants in official corruption cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts.
These courts handle less serious
misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In
addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before
an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter
starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court
where subsequent proceedings take place.
In the magistrate courts in May the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 201 involving "Bribery of public officials and witnesses". This was the lead charge
for 100 percent of all magistrate filings in May.
Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In May 2019, 31 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during May there
were an additional 2 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate
courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information
was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and
therefore cover all matters filed in district court during May.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of official corruption matters
filed in U.S. District Court during May 2019.
18 USC 201 - Bribery of public officials and witnesses
"Bribery of public officials and witnesses" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 201) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
Ranked 2nd in frequency were the lead charges "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 and "Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 666.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In May 2019 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government brought 12.2 official corruption prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.
Understandably, there is great variation in the number of official corruption prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of prosecutions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.
The Southern District of Texas (Houston) — with 5 prosecutions — was the most active during May 2019.
The Central District of California (Los Angeles), District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) and Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.
Top Ranked District Judges
At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new official corruption crime cases of this type during May 2019 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 10 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of official corruption filings , while the remaining 6 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 16 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Jose Rolando Olvera, Jr. in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 5 defendants in official corruption cases.
Judges Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in the District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) and Philip Ray Martinez in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 3 defendants in official corruption cases.