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Justice Needs to Better Manage Its Fight Against Public Corruption

NCJ Number
Date Published
74 pages
Addressing the need to improve the management of public corruption efforts, the General Accounting Office (GAO) analyzed the results of public corruption cases handled in eight judicial districts and recommended that the Attorney General manage the new Economic Crime Enforcement Program.
To review the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) efforts in combating public corruption, GAO interviewed Department of Justice officials from the Criminal Division, Tax Division, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the policies, procedures, and management of their public corruptions efforts. Fieldwork included interviews of attorneys, judges, and other law enforcement officials; examination of records on corruption cases for 1977 and 1978; reviews of investigative and prosecutive guidelines; and analyses of sentences given to those convicted of public corruption. GAO identified 396 public corruption cases terminated during 1977 and 1978 involving 581 defendants. Of these cases, 171 were terminated before trial; of the remaining cases, 274 defendants were convicted. The study determined that DOJ's Public Integrity Section has been hampered in accomplishing its oversight mission. Causes for its ineffectiveness are lack of an effective planning process and the lack of sufficient information on DOJ's public corruption efforts. The need for a standard public corruption definition is emphasized. Further, the study recommends that a system be developed and implemented to identify and classify public corruption and that the Public Integrity Section take a more active role in managing the overall public corruption efforts. Tables and footnotes are included. Appendixes include data tables and relevant correspondence.