Prosecution of Public Officials for Corruption Declines under Obama

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Going after government officials for corruption has not been a priority of the U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama, compared with his predecessors.


Cases of public corruption that have been prosecuted are down this year versus what they were last year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.


TRAC also reports that the number of public corruption prosecutions is noticeably down during the Obama administration when compared to those pursued under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.


As of July 2014, the Justice Department has filed 302 corruption prosecutions, putting the agency on a pace of 518 for this year.


If this rate holds up, the total would represent an 18.6% decline from 2013, when there were 636 prosecutions.


The drop is even sharper when the Justice Department numbers are put up alongside those from 2004 (down 32% when there were 760 cases under Bush) and 1994 (down 27% when 711 were reported under Clinton).


TRAC says public corruption referrals sent from federal agencies to Justice have averaged 1,674 during the past five years. This total is about the same as under Bush (1,663 referrals).


“The number of prosecutions, however, has fallen under Obama because a smaller percentage of these referrals (39.5%) ends up being pursued by prosecutors,” TRAC states. “So far during FY 2014 only about one out of every three (34.0%) were prosecuted. During the Bush years, 41.6 percent of the official corruption referrals resulted in prosecution.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Official Corruption Prosecutions Decline Under Obama (TRAC Reports)


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