More than 1,000 federal, state, and local government employees across the country have been convicted in government corruption cases over the past two years, including hundreds of crooked police officers and others who have dipped into the taxpayers’ till, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told the Senate Judiciary Committee, reports the Washington Post. The numbers underscore the extent to which public corruption has become a primary focus of FBI criminal investigators alongside preventing terrorism. Public-corruption investigations have surged by 30 percent in the past four years, to more than 2,000. The FBI dedicates more than 600 agents and 15 percent of its criminal investigative resources to government graft.
The highest-profile cases have been in Congress, including the probe into the web of corruption surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff that led to guilty pleas from former congressman Robert W. Ney (R-Oh) and a separate investigation that led to a guilty plea from former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Ca). The list of convictions over two years includes 158 state officials, 360 local officials,and 365 police officers. One hundred seventy-seven of the convictions involved federal officials. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University said that “nobody really knows if the extent of corruption is higher than previous decades. All we know is that the FBI is finding more because it’s focusing on these cases.”