Bribing California Legislators and Elected Officials
In western liberal democracies, it is expected that those who represent the citizens are conducting their professional duties impartially and fairly. Otherwise, those who have more power to exert over these government officials would have a greater say than others, violating the belief that every citizen is equal in society. As such, in California, it is illegal to bribe state legislators or elected officials. According to California Penal Code 85 PC, bribing legislators is a serious criminal offense.
However, what constitutes bribery? It is vital that individuals are aware of the legal definition so that they do not engage in activity that constitutes as such. According to California law, bribery occurs when an elected official is told to act or conduct their professional duties in a certain way in return for money or any other item of value. Therefore, an individual bribes a legislator or elected official by offering them something valuable (money, assets, items, etc.) in order to change the vote of the official.
However, the individual bribing the legislator must be doing so with the intention to bribe and corrupt. Elected officials and legislators can receive donations, but these are strictly controlled by-laws and guidelines. Therefore, prior to giving an official anything of value (like money for an electoral campaign) ensure it is done appropriately and according to the law.
Those who violate Penal Code 85 PC face steep penalties. Besides the penalties ascribed by the law, those who are found guilty of bribing often face social penalties as well, as their reputation can suffer. Those who are convicted can lose their official positions and be prohibited from running for political office in the future. Furthermore, prison time can also be included as a punishment, with some going to a California state prison. In some cases, the judge may require the convicted individual to pay restitution for the bribe that was received.