California’s public officials have a duty to represent the best interests of their constituents. While those convicted of bribing, or attempting to bribe, public officials, legislators, public employees and others in the public eye may face serious consequences, the same holds true for the public officials convicted of accepting bribes or otherwise committing ethics violations.
Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, each state has its own rules and guidelines as far as penalizing public officials who accept bribes.
Financial penalties associated with accepting bribes
Public officials who receive convictions for accepting bribes may face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. How much each offender might have to pay after a conviction depends to some degree on the severity of the offense.
It also depends on if the public official actually accepted payment for the bribe. If a public official never actually received the bribe, he or she may have to pay fines that fall somewhere between $4,000 and $20,000. The fines become much greater if the public official actually received the bribe. However, courts typically consider the offender’s reasonable ability to pay the fine amount when deciding how much to fine him or her.
Other penalties associated with accepting bribes
In addition to financial repercussions, public officials convicted of accepting bribes may have to serve years in state prison. They may, too, face removal from public office and permanent disqualification from ever holding another state office, among other possible penalties.
The penalties outlined above apply to offenders facing state-level bribery charges. The repercussions may prove different, and possibly more severe, for individuals facing federal bribery charges.