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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Criminal Code Violations - 15 of 25

Background

A legislator commits the crime of bribery if he or she solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept a pecuniary benefit based on an agreement or understanding that the legislator's vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action as a legislator will be influenced by receiving the pecuniary benefit.  A "pecuniary benefit" could be money, property, commercial interests, or anything else that primarily results in economic gain to the legislator.  A person can be guilty of bribery even if he or she has been elected or appointed but has not yet been sworn into office.  The crime of bribery is a class 3 felony, punishable by a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 12 years in prison, followed by a mandatory parole period of 5 years, or by a fine of at least $3,000 but not more than $750,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Hypothetical

Bribery

It's the first day of the session and you're on your way to the House Chambers to be sworn in. Just before you leave your office, you get a call from one of your new constituents. This person is very concerned about his mother. She's in the country illegally, and she has a serious health condition. If she has to return to her native country, she will not be able to receive the treatment she needs. You try to explain that immigration law is a federal issue, and, as a state legislator, there's really nothing you can do. But your constituent is convinced that introducing a bill will send a message to Congress. Your constituent also mentions that he has driven past your house a couple of times and noticed that your driveway is in very bad condition. Your constituent actually has a driveway resurfacing company and he would be happy to give you a free resurfacing, but he really needs your help. You tell him that you won't introduce a bill, but you will introduce a memorial to Congress to express the General Assembly's opinion that there should be an exception made in the immigration laws for persons in immediate need of significant medical treatment. Then you make an appointment for next Saturday for your constituent to start resurfacing your driveway.

Question


Have you just committed the crime of bribery?

Select No. As a state lawmaker, you can't change federal immigration law.

Select No. You haven't been sworn in, so you weren't a public servant when you agreed to introduce the memorial and accepted the free driveway resurfacing.

Select Yes. You agreed to introduce the memorial to Congress to help your constituent, and you're accepting his offer of a free driveway resurfacing.

Select No. A memorial to Congress does not have the force and effect of law, so it is not included in the actions for which you can be bribed.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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