Question: Is Attempted Bribery A Crime?

Author: Alexx | Category: Politics | Date: 09-16-2017

Because of the impeachment inquiry, we are hearing a lot about “quid pro quo,“ corruption,” and “bribery.” The White House says that because the aid to Ukraine went through at the end after the whole situation was exposed, no one is guilty of anything. Is this true?


Let’s define some terms first:  “Corruption” almost always applies to officials, or someone acting as a representative of a government or an organization with rules.  Corruption occurs when officials take or offer bribes (in the form of money or other items of value) in exchange for giving or receiving a personal favor.  Quid Pro Quo just means I give you this in exchange for that.  

So, corruption is almost always associated with bribery.

A government official, especially one with a lot of power, can use his  power to get others, including the leaders of other countries, to take actions that will help his own self-interest, not the interest of his own country. If that occurs, then we can say that the government official is corrupt.  And when bribery occurs (which is almost always the case)—such as when the government official uses his official power to  threaten someone or to offer a reward for actions that will benefit himself, not his country--then that official is corrupt and is guilty of bribery.

Bribery is mentioned in the U.S. constitution as an impeachable offense.

But is attempted bribery a crime? What happens when that government official who tried to offer/hold back something of value to the recipient with a clear understanding that the recipient will only get the valued item if the government official gets something personally beneficial in return, but because this official is about to be exposed, he ends up not going through with this act of bribery.  So, in this situation, it is an act of attempted bribery.

Is attempted bribery a crime?

Yes, according to most legal experts. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute reminds us: “Attempts to bribe exist at common law and under the Model Penal Code, and often, the punishment for attempted bribery and completed bribery are identical.”     (read more)