Bribery requires a person giving or offering to give anything of value. Therefore, a bribe must involve something of value that is used to influence the action or nonaction of the recipient. The value of the thing involved is determined by the application of a subjective test. The subjective test is met if the thing has sufficient value in the mind of the person concerned so that his/her actions are influenced. Some statutes criminalize the act of offering something of value in order to influence a public official’s actions[i].
Generally, the government is not required to establish the exact value of the bribe[ii]. It is to be noted that a bribe must not necessarily be in the form of money. It is sufficient if the receiver gets anything of value to himself/herself from the bribe. Therefore, in order to constitute a solicitation of a bribe, the thing solicited must be either valuable or beneficial. It need not be property or money but can be some act[iii]. Things that are of value in the context of bribery include sexual favors, appointments to public jobs, loans, checks, and promissory notes.
Bribery related to programs that receive federal funds carries certain criminal penalties only if the transaction involves a value of the bribe thta is $ 5,000 or more, if the entity affected receives more than $ 10,000 per year in federal funds[iv]. The value given in an offense under this statute can be an intangible item. The statute does not specifically require that the payor or the payee of the bribe value the transaction at $ 5,000. Instead, the $ 5,000 provision ensures that the statute deals with acts of bribery involving transactions of substantial value[v].
[i] State v. Null, 247 Neb. 192 (Neb. 1995)
[ii] United States v. Glazer, 129 F. Supp. 285 (D. Del. 1955)
[iii] Scott v. State, 107 Ohio St. 475 (Ohio 1923)
[iv] 18 USCS § 666