List of United States federal officials convicted of corruption offenses
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (March 2014)|
This list only includes federal officials convicted of certain select corruption crimes. For a more complete list see: List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes and List of federal political scandals in the United States.
Dozens of high-level United States federal officials have been convicted of public corruption offenses for conduct while in office. These officials have been convicted under two types of statutes. The first type are also applicable to corrupt state and local officials: the mail and wire fraud statutes (enacted 1872), including the honest services fraud provision, the Hobbs Act (enacted 1934), the Travel Act (enacted 1961), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (enacted 1970). In addition, federal officials are subject to the federal bribery, graft, and conflict-of-interest crimes contained in Title 18, Chapter 11 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. §§ 201–227, which do not apply to state and local officials. Most notably, § 201(b) prohibits the receipt of bribes, and § 201(c) prohibits the receipt of unlawful gratuities, by federal public officials. Lesser used statutes include conspiracy to defraud the United States (enacted 1867) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (enacted 1977).
Where the defendant is a member of the United States Congress, the Speech or Debate Clause of Article One of the United States Constitution—providing that: "[F]or any Speech or Debate in either House, [Senators or Representatives] shall not be questioned in any other Place"—limits the acts which may be charged and the evidence that may be introduced.
Inclusion criteria and organization
Only high-level federal officials are included in this list. For the executive branch, this means the President, Vice President, and Cabinet members (i.e. officials compensated at Level I of the Executive Schedule). For the legislative branch, this means members of the Congress, whether the Senate or House of Representatives. For the judicial branch, this means Article Three judges. Lower-level officials are not included on this list, although they may be prosecuted for the same offenses.
Acquitted officials are not listed (if an official was acquitted on some counts, and convicted on others, the counts of conviction are listed). If a defendant is convicted of a conspiracy to commit a corruption offense, the substantive offense is listed. Convictions such as making false statements, perjury, obstruction of justice, electoral fraud, violations of campaign finance regulations, tax evasion and money laundering are not included in this list. Censure, impeachment, and removal from office are also not included in this list.
The list is organized by office. The criminal statute(s) under which the conviction(s) were obtained are noted, as are the names of notable investigations, scandals, or litigation, if applicable. The year of conviction is included (if the official was convicted multiple times due to retrials, only the year of the first conviction is included). Certain details, including post-conviction relief, if applicable, are included in footnotes. Political affiliation is also included.
|Robert Archbald||Judge||United States||1913||Bribery||||Republican|
|Daniel Brewster||Senate||Maryland||1972||Federal official gratuity||United States v. Brewster (1972)||||Democrat|
|Joseph R. Burton||Senate||Kansas||1904||Compensated representation in a proceeding in which the United States is interested (Rev. Stat. § 1782) (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 203)||Burton v. United States (1905, 1906)||||Republican|
|Frank Ballance||House of Representatives||North Carolina||2004||Mail fraud||||Democrat|
|Mario Biaggi||House of Representatives||New York||1987||Federal official gratuity and Travel Act|||
|1988||Federal official bribery and gratuity, mail fraud, Hobbs Act, and RICO||Wedtech scandal||||Democrat|
|Frank W. Boykin||House of Representatives||Alabama||1963||Federal official conflict-of-interest and conspiracy to defraud the United States||||Democrat|
|Ernest K. Bramblett||House of Representatives||California||1954||Payroll fraud to cover kickbacks||||Republican|
|Frank J. Brasco||House of Representatives||New York||1974||Conspiracy to defraud the United States||||Democrat|
|Albert Bustamante||House of Representatives||Texas||1993||Federal official gratuity and RICO||||Democrat|
|Frank M. Clark||House of Representatives||Pennsylvania||1979||Mail fraud||||Democrat|
|Robert Frederick Collins||United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana||Louisiana||1991||Federal official bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States||||N/A|
|Duke Cunningham||House of Representatives||California||2006||Mail fraud and federal official bribery||Cunningham scandal||||Republican|
|Charles Diggs||House of Representatives||Michigan||1980||Mail fraud||||Democrat|
|David Durenberger||House of Representatives||Minnesota||1965||Misuse of Public Funds||||Republican|
|John Dowdy||House of Representatives||Texas||1971||Federal official conflict-of-interest and Travel Act||||Democrat|
|Joshua Eilberg||House of Representatives||Pennsylvania||1979||Federal official conflict-of-interest||||Democrat|
|Albert B. Fall||Secretary of the Interior||N/A||1929||Revolving door (18 U.S.C. § 207)||Teapot Dome scandal||||Republican|
|Robert García||House of Representatives||New York||1989||Hobbs Act||Wedtech scandal||||Democrat|
|Richard T. Hanna||House of Representatives||California||1978||Conspiracy to defraud the United States||Koreagate||||Democrat|
|James F. Hastings||House of Representatives||New York||1976||Mail fraud||||Republican|
|Andrew J. Hinshaw||House of Representatives||California||2008||Bribery||||Republican|
|John H. Hoeppel||House of Representatives||California||1935||Sale of appointive office (18 U.S.C. § 150) (currently codified at 18 U.S.C. § 211)||||Democrat|
|William J. Jefferson||House of Representatives||Louisiana||2009||Federal official bribery, wire fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and RICO||William J. Jefferson corruption case||||Democrat|
|John Jenrette||House of Representatives||South Carolina||1980||Federal official bribery||Abscam||||Democrat|
|Thomas Francis Johnson||House of Representatives||Maryland||1963||Federal official conflict-of-interest and conspiracy to defraud the United States||United States v. Johnson (1966)||||Democrat|
|Richard Kelly||House of Representatives||Florida||1981||Federal official bribery, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and Travel Act||Abscam||||Republican|
|Joseph P. Kolter||House of Representatives||Pennsylvania||1996||Conspiracy to defraud the United States||Congressional Post Office scandal||||Democrat|
|Raymond F. Lederer||House of Representatives||Pennsylvania||1981||Federal official bribery and gratuity, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and Travel Act||Abscam||||Democrat|
|Buz Lukens||House of Representatives||Ohio||1996||Federal official bribery||House banking scandal||||Republican|
|Martin Thomas Manton||United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit||N/A||1939||Conspiracy to defraud the United States||||N/A|
|Nicholas Mavroules||House of Representatives||Massachusetts||1993||Hobbs Act and RICO||||Democrat|
|Andrew J. May||House of Representatives||Kentucky||1947||Conspiracy to defraud the United States and compensated representation in a proceeding in which the United States is interested (18 U.S.C. § 203)||||Democrat|
|John H. Mitchell||Senate||Oregon||1905||Compensated representation in a proceeding in which the United States is interested (Rev. Stat. § 1782) (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 203)||Oregon land fraud scandal||||Republican|
|John M. Murphy||House of Representatives||New York||1980||Federal official gratuity, federal official conflict-of interest, and conspiracy to defraud the United States||Abscam||||Democrat|
|Michael Myers||House of Representatives||Pennsylvania||1980||Federal official bribery, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and Travel Act||Abscam||||Democrat|
|Bob Ney||House of Representatives||Ohio||2006||Mail fraud||Jack Abramoff CNMI scandal||||Republican|
|Nehemiah G. Ordway||US Governor of Dakota Territory||Dakota Territory||1884||Bribery||||Republican|
|Bertram L. Podell||House of Representatives||New York||1974||Federal official conflict-of-interest and conspiracy to defraud the United States||||Democrat|
|Halsted Ritter||District Judge||Florida||1936||Bribery||||Republican|
|Dan Rostenkowski||House of Representatives||Illinois||1998||Mail fraud||Congressional Post Office scandal||||Democrat|
|Frank Thompson||House of Representatives||New Jersey||1980||Federal official bribery and gratuity and conspiracy to defraud the United States||Abscam||||Democrat|
|James Traficant||House of Representatives||Ohio||2002||Federal official bribery and gratuity, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and RICO||||Democrat|
|J. Irving Whalley||House of Representatives||Pennsylvania||1973||Mail fraud||||Republican|
|Harrison A. Williams||Senate||New Jersey||1981||Federal official bribery and gratuity, federal official conflict-of-interest, Travel Act, and conspiracy to defraud the United States||Abscam||||Democrat|
- Peter W. Schroth, Corruption and Accountability of the Civil Service in the United States, 42 Am. J. Comp. L. 554 (2006).
- 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1346.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), (b)(2).
- 18 U.S.C. § 1952.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1).
- Act of Mar. 2, 1867, ch. 169, § 30, 14 Stat. 484 (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 371).
- Pub. L. No. 95-213, 91 Stat. 1495.
- U.S. Const. art. I, § 6, cl. 1.
- 5 U.S.C. § 5312.
- In a pre-trial appeal, the Supreme Court rejected Brewster's argument that his prosecution violated the Speech or Debate Clause. United States v. Brewster, 408 U.S. 501 (1972). After his trial, the D.C. Circuit reversed Brewster's conviction and remanded for a new trial. United States v. Brewster, 506 F.2d 62 (D.C. Cir. 1974). Brewster then plead no contest. Daniel B. Brewster, 83, Former Senator, Dies, N.Y. Times, Aug. 27, 2007.
- The Supreme Court reversed Burton's conviction and remanded for a new trial, citing violations of the Venue and Vicinage Clauses and prejudicially refused jury instructions. Burton v. United States, 196 U.S. 283 (1905). Following a retrial, Burton's conviction was affirmed. Burton v. United States, 202 U.S. 344 (1906).
- Ballance plead guilty. N.C.'s Ballance Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Wash. Post, Nov. 10, 2004.
- United States v. Biaggi, 853 F.2d 89 (2d Cir. 1988).
- United States v. Biaggi, 909 F.2d 662 (2d Cir. 1990).
- President Johnson pardoned Boykin. Johnson Grants Frank Boykin a Full Pardon, The Tuscaloosa News, Dec. 22, 1965.
- United States v. Brasco, 516 F.2d 816 (2d Cir. 1975).
- United States v. Bustamante, 45 F.3d 933 (5th Cir. 1995).
- Clark plead guilty. Fritz Huysman, Former Legislator Makes Surprise Guilty Plea, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 14, 1979.
- United States v. Collins, 972 F.2d 1385 (5th Cir. 1992).
- Cunningham plead guilty. Crooked Congressman Goes to Prison, CNN, Mar. 3, 2006.
- United States v. Diggs, 613 F.2d 988 (D.C. Cir. 1979).
- The Fourth Circuit reversed Dowdy's convictions for violations of the Speech or Debate Clause. United States v. Dowdy, 479 F.2d 213 (4th Cir. 1973).
- Eilberg plead guilty. Former U.S. Rep. Eilberg Pleads Guilty to Conflict, The Tuscaloosa News, Feb. 25, 1979.
- Fall v. United States, 49 F.2d 506 (D.C. Cir. 1931).
- After García's first trial, the Second Circuit reversed García's convictions and remanded for a new trial. United States v. Garcia, 907 F.2d 380 (2d Cir. 1990). After García's second trial, the Second Circuit again reversed and remanded for a new trial, this time in light of the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257 (1991). United States v. Garcia, 992 F.2d 409 (2d Cir. 1993). The government declined to prosecute García a third time. U.S. Will Not Retry Garcia in Extortion, N.Y. Times, Sept. 16, 1993.
- Hanna plead guilty. Ed Rogers, Hanna Sentenced in Bribery Case, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Apr. 25, 1978.
- Ex-Lawmaker Convicted of Fraud, St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 18, 1976.
- Hoeppel v. United States, 85 F.2d 237 (D.C. Cir. 1936).
- The Fourth Circuit vacated one of Jefferson's wire fraud convictions for improper venue. United States v. Jefferson, 674 F.3d 332 (4th Cir. 2012).
- United States v. Jenrette, 744 F.2d 817 (D.C. Cir. 1984).
- The Supreme Court reversed Johnson's conviction and remanded for a new trial on the grounds that the introduction of certain evidence violated the Speech or Debate Clause. United States v. Johnson, 383 U.S. 169 (1966). At his retrial, the conspiracy count was dismissed Johnson was convicted of the conflict-of-interest count only. United States v. Johnson, 419 F.2d 56 (4th Cir. 1969).
- After the jury returned a verdict of guilty, the district judge granted Kelly's motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the Abscam investigation was unconstitutional entrapment. The D.C. Circuit reversed, and reinstated the conviction. United States v. Kelly, 707 F.2d 1460 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (per curiam).
- Kolter plead guilty. Justin Pritchard, From the House to the Big House, Mother Jones, Jan./Feb. 1998.
- United States v. Myers, 692 F.2d 823 (2d Cir. 1982).
- United States v. Lukens, 114 F.3d 1220 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
- United States v. Manton, 107 F.2d 834 (2d Cir. 1939).
- Mavroules plead guilty. Ex-Congressman Pleads Guilty to 15 Racketeering, Extortion Charges, L.A. Times, Apr. 16, 1993.
- May v. United States, 175 F.2d 994 (D.C. Cir. 1949).
- Jerry A. O'Callaghan, Senator Mitchell and the Oregon Land Frauds, 1905, 21 Pac. Hist. Rev. 255 (1952).
- The Second Circuit reversed Murphy's conflict-of-interest conviction. United States v. Myers, 692 F.2d 823 (2d Cir. 1982).
- Ney plead guilty. Pub. Integrity Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Dep't of Justice, Report to Congress on the Activities and Operations of the Public Integrity Section for 2009, at 22.
- Podell plead guilty. United States v. Podell, 519 F.2d 144 (2d Cir. 1975).
- Rostenkowski plead guilty. David E. Rosenbaum, Rostenkowski Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud, N.Y. Times, Apr. 10, 1998.
- United States v. Traficant, 368 F.3d 646 (6th Cir. 2004).
- Whalley plead guilty. Milton Jacques, Ex-Rep. Whalley Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 1, 1973.
- United States v. Williams, 705 F.2d 603 (2d Cir. 1983).