June 29, 2014
SACRAMENTO–In San Francisco, a California state legislator is charged with firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire, distributing drugs and wire fraud; while in Charlotte, North Carolina, the local mayor is charged with soliciting and accepting bribes during an undercover operation. Eroding public trust—undermining the democratic process—the FBI has made public corruption its top criminal priority.
Not concerned about their constituencies, much less breaking the law, the FBI says each year its agents investigate a number of public servants who violate their oath looking for personal gain. Investigating approximately 4000 public corruption cases this year, the FBI said investigators returned more than 1200 Indictments and Informations charging public officials.
Uniquely positioned to investigate corruption at all levels of government, the FBI says its agents are trained and have the resources needed to conduct long-term complex investigations often needed when allegations are made concerning bribery, embezzlement, racketeering, kickbacks and money laundering. Using sophisticated investigative techniques like electronic surveillance, undercover operations and confidential human sources, the FBI said agents are taught to capture handshakes, money exchanges and surreptitiously record conversations when suspects talk about their corrupt schemes in an effort to collect evidence.
Beginning with the agency’s birth in 1908, the FBI said agents had jurisdiction investigating corrupt public officials when Congress charged them with investigating land fraud cases. Using confidential human sources, electronic surveillance and conducting undercover operations, the FBI works closely with the Justice Department to ensure laws, guidelines, and strict protocols are followed by agents conducting public corruption investigations.