|For Immediate Release
December 1, 2011
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Full Committee Markup of
H.R. 2572, the “Clean Up Government Act of 2011”
Chairman Smith: When an elected official violates the sacred trust of their office by turning “public service” into “self service,” Americans’ confidence in public servants and the political process erodes.
The FBI has identified public corruption as a top criminal priority, noting that:
“Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods are protected…to verdicts handed down in courts…to the quality of our roads, schools, and other government services. And it takes a significant toll on our pocketbooks, wasting billions in tax dollars every year.”
Our public corruption laws must ensure that elected officials who profit illegally from their undisclosed financial interests or by accepting illegal gratuities are held accountable.
H.R. 2572, the “Clean Up Government Act of 2011,” was introduced by Crime Subcommittee Chairman Sensenbrenner and Mr. Quigley of Illinois to improve federal public corruption statutes. The bill makes common-sense reforms and restores prosecutorial tools that have been stripped away by various court decisions.
The bill clarifies the definition of “undisclosed self dealing” within the honest services fraud statute. This important change reinstates Congress’ intent that honest services fraud prosecutions not be limited only to bribery and kickback schemes.
Similar clarifications are made for the terms “official act” and “official position.” The bill also enhances penalties and expands wiretap predicates.
This bill ensures that our public corruption laws reflect the seriousness of this conduct and its effect on America’s trust in government.