Casey-Backed Amendment to Crack Down on Public Corruption Included in Just-Passed Senate Bill

Casey-Supported Measure Would Ban Public Officials from Accepting Gifts Over $1,000, Close Loopholes in Public Corruption Laws

Inclusion of Anti-Corruption In STOCK Act Increases Likelihood that Measure Will Become Law

Measure Passed Senate with 96 Votes; Has Support in House from Both Parties 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that legislation he has supported, the Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act, has been added to the STOCK Act which just passed the Senate with 96 votes. Tacking this anti-corruption measure onto the STOCK Act increases the likelihood that it will become law, as the underlying legislation is also broadly supported in the House of Representatives.

The Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act would:

  • Ban public officials from accepting money or gifts over $1,000 given to them because of their official position;
  • Overturn a flawed Supreme Court ruling, Skilling vs. United States, which made it harder for prosecutors to crack down on public corruption;
  • Extend the statute of limitations to six years (from five) for bribery, honest services fraud, and extortion; and,
  • Ban a process known as ‘Undisclosed Self-Dealing,’ when a public official covers up a conflict of interest.

“Public service is an honor and a trust. Those who violate that trust should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and this measure will make sure that happens,” Senator Casey said. “Prosecutors should have every tool at their disposal to confront public corruption, and this legislation will ensure that they do. We should get this measure to the President’s desk right away.”

The Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act will strengthen existing federal criminal law for acts of public corruption and raise maximum statutory penalties.  It will restore the crucial honest services fraud statute severely limited by the Supreme Court in 2010, so that prosecutors can once again target undisclosed self-dealing.  The amendment will also clarify the definition of what it means for a public official to perform an “official act,” and amend the federal bribery statute to show that a corrupt payment can be made to influence more than one official act.  The legislation also amends the federal gratuities statute to make clear that a public official cannot accept anything of value worth more than $1,000 given to them because of their official position other than as permitted by existing rules or regulations.   The measure was adopted by voice vote as an amendment to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

The Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act has been approved in each of the three last Congresses.  Other key provisions of the Public Corruption Prosecution Improvement Act include an extension of the statute of limitations from five to six years for bribery, honest services fraud, and extortion of a public official.  Public corruption cases are time-consuming to investigate, and the extension of the statute of limitations provides prosecutors the time necessary to investigate cases.  The bill also raises statutory maximum penalties for select anti-corruption statutes to ensure the most serious corrupt acts result in significant jail time.

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