Actual Problems of
Economics and Law




DOI: 10.21202/2782-2923.2021.3.573-602

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Authors :
1. Michael J. Morgan, J. D. Candidate, 2022; B. A., 2019, University of Pennsylvania
Fordham University School of Law

Bridging the gap: assessing the state of federal corruption law after Kelly v. United States

Objective: to reveal the gaps and contradictions in the US federal anti-corruption law, to elaborate the means of solving the contradictions and bridging the gaps.
Methods: dialectical approach to cognition of social phenomena using the general scientific (analysis, synthesis, induction) and specific scientific (formal-legal, systemic, comparative-legal, sociological) research methods.
Results: Political corruption in the United States has become more and more prevalent in recent years. These days it seems difficult to turn on the news without hearing accusations of a public official caught in a scandal. Despite the frequency of the corrupt acts, however, the federal government remains largely unable to hold state actors accountable. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently overturned federal convictions of state officials charged with committing corrupt acts. The issue in these cases is not the lack of corruption or proof of the acts but rather, the lack of laws that adequately criminalize the corrupt conduct. As a result, the same corrupt actions being publicly denounced in the news are being excused in the justice system. This paper examines the Court's recent corruption cases and analyzes the rationales behind them, including Kelly v. United States, the most recent case in the federal corruption saga.
Scientific novelty: the author concludes that in Kelly V. United States the Court is sending a clear message to the US Congress: amend the corruption laws to properly cover the conduct. In this regard, the author proposes an amended version of the current law that takes into account the analysis of Kelly and other federal corruption cases. It is proposed to define "honest services" in the federal law, which would provide federal prosecutors a viable statute to combat corruption.
Practical significance: the main provisions and conclusions of the article can be used in scientific, pedagogical and law enforcement activities when considering the issues related to prevention and control of law breaches.

Keywords :

Gaps; Contradictions; Corruption; Corruption counteraction; Honest services; Kelly v. United States

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Citation :
Morgan M. J. Bridging the gap: assessing the state of federal corruption law after Kelly v. United States, Russian Journal of Economics and Law, 2021, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 573–602. DOI: http://dx.doi.

Type of article : The scientific article

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