The Emerging Role of the Quid Pro Quo Requirement in Public Corruption .Prosecutions Under the Hobbs Act

This Note discusses the quid pro quo requirement under the Hobbs Act, a federal criminal statute which applies to bribery by public officials. The author first describes two recent decisions by the Supreme Court, McCormick v. United States and Evans v. United States, which established slightly different versions of a quid pro quo requirement in public corruption prosecutions under the Hobbs Act. The author then explains that the lower federal courts interpreting McCormick and Evans have molded the quid pro quo requirement so that a prosecutor must prove in all public corruption cases under the Hobbs Act that the official intended a bribe-payor to believe that a momentary payment was a condition to the performance or nonperformance of particular official acts. The author further explains that federal courts do not require the official to either express his intent explicitly or actually intend to perform an official act. Although the author argues that explicitness by the official should not be required, he also argues that officials, in fact, tend to engage in explicit bribery. The author concludes that judges will continue to mold the quid pro quo requirement partly according to their individual moral and political perspectives.