Corruption Prosecutions Decline Under Obama

The number of individuals prosecuted for criminal public corruption offenses during the Obama Administration has fallen from levels seen in the Bush and Clinton years.

That’s according to a report released today by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

The report found that in the first seven months of FY 2014 the government reported 302 new official corruption prosecutions.

If this activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be 518 for this fiscal year.

According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the TRAC, this estimate is down 18.6 percent over the past fiscal year when the number of prosecutions totaled 636.

Prosecutions over the past year are lower than they were ten years ago.

Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 31.8 percent from the level of 760 reported in 2004 and down 27.1 percent from the level of 711 reported in 1994.

These comparisons of the number of defendants charged with official corruption offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

Public corruption referrals to federal prosecutors by investigative agencies during the last five years averaged 1,674 individuals, about the same annual number as during the Bush presidency where the annual average was 1,663.

The number of prosecutions, however, has fallen under Obama because a smaller percentage of these referrals (39.5%) ends up being pursued by prosecutors. So far during FY 2014 only about one out of every three (34.0%) were prosecuted. During the Bush years, 41.6 percent of the official corruption referrals resulted in prosecution.

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