Bribery – the corrupt payment, receipt, or solicitation of anything of value with intent to influence the action of a public official

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n. (16c)

1. The corrupt payment, receipt, or solicitation of a private favor for official action.  *  Bribery is a felony in most jurisdictions.  See Model Penal Code § 240.1. Cf. KICKBACK. — bribe, vb. [1]

1. A crime; the voluntary giving or receiving of anything of value in corrupt payment for an official act done or to be done or with the corrupt intent to influence the action of a public official, or of any other person professionally concerned with the administration of public affairs, whether that public official or other person be in the legislative, executive, or judicial department of government. 12 Am J2d Brib § 2.

For comparable definition by federal statute, see 18 USC § 201.

The offense has been extended by state statute beyond corrupt influence upon public officials to include the corrupting of candidates for office, jurors, witnesses, voters, labor representatives, agents, even participants in sport. Glickheld v State, 203 Md 400, 101 A2d 229. [2]

1. The crime of giving something of value with the intention of influencing the action of a public official. [3]

     Excerpt from Rollin M. Perkins Er Ronald N. Boyce’s Criminal Law (3d ed. 1982):

     “If money has been corruptly paid and corruptly received, for the purpose of influencing official action, do we have one crime of which two are guilty, or two different crimes?  No uniform answer is possible under existing statutes.  Under some of the provisions bribery is one offense and references to

(1) giving or offering a bribe, or
(2) to receiving or soliciting a bribe,

are merely factual statements in regard to the guilt of one party or the other.  Under another plan ‘bribery’ is employed as a generic term to cover two different offenses:

(1) giving or offering a bribe, and
(2) receiving or soliciting a bribe.

     A third plan uses the word ‘bribery’ to indicate the offense of the briber and ‘receiving a bribe’ for the other side of the transaction. [4]

n. (15c)

1. A price, reward, gift or favor given or promised with a view to pervert the judgment of or influence the action of a person in a position of trust.  Cf. BARRATRY (5). — bribe, vb. [1]

1. To influence official action by bribery. Verb: The payment or gift made or promised in accomplishing bribery. Randall v Evening News Asso., 97 Mich 136, 143, 56 NW 361. [2]

1. A reward given or promised to induce a public official to perform an illegal act.

verb: To influence official action by bribery. [3]

     Excerpt from John T. Noonan Jr.’s Bribes (1984):

     “The core concept of a bribe is an inducement improperly influencing the performance of, a public function meant to be gratuitously exercised. [5]

solicitation of bribe – Corruptly offering to receive a bribe, or expressing a willingness to receive one; an offense at common law and under various statutes, although something less than bribery or even an attempt to receive a bribe. 12 Am J2d Brib § 11. [2]

bribee (19c) Someone who receives a bribe. — aka bribetaker

briber (17c) Someone who offers a bribe. — aka bribe-giver.

boodle – 1. Money given or received as a bribe. 33 Am J1st L & S § 22; money or property gained in an illegal enterprise, theft, or fraudulent scheme.  Money fraudulently obtained in public service; especially, money given to or received by officials in bribery, or gained by collusive contracts, appointments, etc.; by extension, gain from public cheating of any kind; often used attributively. Boehmer v Detroit Free Press, 94 Mich 7. [2]

Various Forms of Bribery:

commercial bribery (1927) 1. The knowing solicitation or acceptance of a benefit in exchange for violating an oath of fidelity, such as that owed by an employee, partner, trustee, or attorney. Model Penal Code § 224.8(1).

2. A supposedly disinterested appraiser’s acceptance of a benefit that influences the appraisal of goods or services. [Model Penal Code § 224.8(2)).

3. Corrupt dealing with the agents or employees of prospective buyers to secure an advantage over business competitors. [1]

1. Giving or receiving a gift for the purpose of influencing any agent to discharge improperly a duty entrusted to him by a private individual or corporation. 12 Am J2d Brib § 17.

As an unfair trade practice this vice of commercial bribery is the advantage which one competitor secures over his fellow competitors by his secret and corrupt dealing with employees or agents of prospective purchasers. American Distilling Co. v Wisconsin Liquor Co. (CA7 Wis) 104 F2d 582, 123 ALR 739. [2]

 bribery at election1. The purchase of a vote by corrupting the voter in paying him money or giving him goods or merchandise, often alcoholic beverages, to obtain his vote for a certain candidate or candidates. 26 Am J2d Elect § 377. [2]

18 U.S.C. § 201 – Bribery of public officials and witnesses


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Rollin M. Perkins Er Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 537 (3d ed. 1982).

[5]: John T. Noonan Jr., Bribes xi (1984).


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