Volume 57
Issue 2
Spring '20

Public Corruption Prosecutions as Financial Crimes under Federal Criminal Law: Targeting the Illicit Use and Misuse of Public Assets and Resources

Written By: Thomas M. DiBiagio

Abstract

Part I of the Article outlines the federal public corruption statutory scheme and describes how the Supreme Court has limited these offenses to bribery and kickback schemes that implicate a clear official government decision or act. Part II of the Article undertakes a detailed analysis of the Third Circuit’s decision in United States v. Baroni. Specifically, it focuses on the appellate court’s ratification of the theory of prosecution centered on an allegation that the public official obtained by fraud and intentionally misapplied public assets and resources. Part III describes how the Third Circuit’s decision in Baroni is consistent with an established record of the courts sustaining financial crimes prosecutions and the government’s efforts to check the illicit use or misuse of public financial and economic interests. Finally, the Article concludes by explaining that any retreat by federal prosecutors from efforts to disrupt the illicit use and misuse of public financial and economic assets and resources will undermine public confidence in the criminal process.

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