Abuse of Public Office Law & Legal Definition


A public servant commits the crime of misuse of confidential information if in contemplation of official action by himself or by a governmental unit with which he is associated, or in reliance on information to which he has access in his official capacity and which has not been made public, he:

  1. Acquires a pecuniary interest in any property, transaction or enterprise which may be affected by such information or official action;
  2. Speculates or wagers on the basis of such information or action; or
  3. Aids another to do any of the above.

Related to the concept of abuse of office is failure to disclose a conflict of interest. A public servant commits the crime of failing to disclose a conflict of interest if he exercises any substantial discretionary function in connection with a government contract, purchase, payment or other pecuniary transaction without advance public disclosure of a known potential conflicting interest in the transaction. Accepting a pecuniary benefit in return for a promise of an appointment to a public office or public employment or designation or nomination as a candidate for public office is another related offense which may be subject to prosecution under state or federal laws.