In the United States, we rely on the sanctity of elections to ensure that our voices are heard, and that power is peacefully transferred throughout the various levels of government. Once elected, we count on public officials to perform their duties faithfully and honestly. Given the high regard in which the election process and public officials are held, merely being accused of a criminal offense involving public officials or an election campaign can have a devastating impact on your life. At Haas Law, we have the skills and experience necessary to successfully defend clients charged with public official and election offenses. We are committed to zealously protecting your rights and defending the charges against you if you are the target of an investigation, or you have been charged with an offense, involving public officials or an election campaign.
What Are Offenses Involving Public Officials?
Public officials are often entrusted with a considerable amount of power, money, and influence. A number of federal laws exist to protect against the potential for corruption on the part of public officials, such as:
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) – makes it unlawful for anyone engaged in interstate or foreign commerce to conduct or participate in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.
- Hobbs Act — prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce “in any way or degree.”
- Mail and Wire Fraud Statute – prevents the use of mail or wire to further a scheme to “deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”
- Bribery of Public Officials Statute – prohibits giving “a thing of value” to a public official.
What Are Election Campaign Offenses?
At the federal level, potential election campaign law violations are typically investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.). Election crimes generally fall into three broad categories, including:
Campaign Finance – to keep federal elections as fair and transparent as possible, various campaign finance laws govern who can donate and how much may be donated to a candidate. Common examples of violations of these laws include:
- An individual giving more than $4,600 to a federal candidate
- A donor asks a friend to give money to a federal candidate on his/her behalf
- A corporation gives corporate money to a federal candidate
- A person who is neither a citizen nor a green card holder gives money to a candidate
Civil Rights Violations – federal laws also exist to ensure that everyone who is entitled to vote can cast a ballot for the candidate of his/her choice. Common examples of civil rights violations related to the election process include:
- Threatening a voter with physical or economic harm unless the voter casts his/her ballot in a specific way
- Preventing (or attempting to) qualified voters from getting to the polls
- Being part of a scheme to prevent minorities from voting
Voter/Ballot Fraud – just as there are laws in place to protect the right to vote, there are also laws that prevent voters from abusing that right. Common examples of a violation of these laws include:
- Intentionally giving false information when registering to vote
- Accepting money or something of value in exchange for voting or registering to vote
- Voting more than once
- Corruption by an election official aimed at benefitting a candidate
Get Help from Experienced Orlando Public Officials and Election Campaign Defense Attorney
If you believe you are the target of an investigation, or you have already been charged with an offense, involving a public official or an election campaign, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced defense attorney right away. You have a number of important rights that can help protect you and your future; however, you need a skilled attorney to ensure that those rights are asserted on your behalf.
At Haas Law, our federal defense attorneys have the skills and experience needed to defend you if you have been accused of violating federal public official corruption or election campaign laws. We are dedicated to protecting your rights throughout an investigation and providing a zealous defense should the government decide to pursue charges against you.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day, allowing you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.