Penal Code Offenses Targeting Public Servants

  1. An officer, employee, or agent of government; or
  2. A candidate for nomination or election to public office.

Penal Code 1.07(a)(41)


  1. Any benefit as consideration for the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant;
  2. Any benefit as consideration for the recipient's decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding;
  3. Any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant;
  4. Any benefit that is a political contribution as defined by Election Code Title 15 or that is an expenditure made and reported in accordance with Government Code Chapter 305, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.

Penal Code 36.02(a)

Illegal Gifts


  1. A fee prescribed by law to be received by a public servant or any other benefit to which the public servant is lawfully entitled or for which the public servant gives legitimate consideration in a capacity other than as a public servant;
  2. A gift or other benefit conferred on account of kinship or a personal, professional, or business relationship independent of the official status of the recipient;
  3. A benefit to a public servant required to file a statement under Government Code Chapter 572 or a report under Election Code Title 15 that is derived from a function in honor or appreciation of the recipient if:
    1. The benefit and the source of any benefit in excess of $50 is reported in the statement; and
    2. The benefit is used solely to defray the expenses that accrue in the performance of duties or activities in connection with the office which are nonreimbursable by the state or political subdivision;
  4. A political contribution as defined by Election Code Title 15;
  5. An item with a value of less than $50, excluding cash or a negotiable instrument as described by Business and Commerce Code 3.104;
  6. An item issued by a governmental entity that allows the use of property or facilities owned, leased, or operated by the governmental entity;
  7. Transportation and lodging expenses or meals in connection with a conference or similar event in which the public servant renders services, such as addressing an audience or engaging in a seminar, to the extent those services are more than merely perfunctory;
  8. Complimentary legal advice or legal services relating to a will, power of attorney, advance directive, or other estate planning document rendered to a public servant who is a first responder; and through a program or clinic that is operated by a local bar association or the State Bar of Texas and approved by the head of the agency employing the public servant, if the public servant is employed by an agency; or
  9. Food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment accepted as a guest and, if the donee is required by law to report those items, reported by the donee in accordance with that law.

Penal Code 36.07(b), .10(a)–(b)

Honoraria and Expenses

Abuse of Office

  1. An agreement under which the public servant holds the property;
  2. An oath of office of a public servant;
  3. A law, including provisions of the General Appropriations Act specifically relating to government property, that prescribes the manner of custody or disposition of the property; or
  4. A limited purpose for which the property is delivered or received.

Penal Code 39.01(2)

Misuse of Official Information

  1. Acquires or aids another to acquire a pecuniary interest in any property, transaction, or enterprise that may be affected by the information;
  2. Speculates or aids another to speculate on the basis of the information; or
  3. As a public servant, including as a school administrator, coerces another into suppressing or failing to report that information to a law enforcement agency.

Penal Code 39.06(a)–(b), (d)

Official Oppression

  1. Intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;
  2. Intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or
  3. Intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.

Penal Code 39.03(a)–(c)


  1. The individual is related to the public official within the third degree by consanguinity or within the second degree by affinity; or
  2. The public official holds the appointment or confirmation authority as a member of a local board and the individual is related to another member of the board within the third degree by consanguinity or within the second degree by affinity.

Gov't Code 573.002, .041; Atty. Gen. Op. JC-184 (2000) [See DBE]


"Public Official"

  1. An officer of this state or of a district, county, municipality, precinct, school district, or other political subdivision of this state; or
  2. An officer or member of a board of this state or of a district, county, municipality, college district, or other political subdivision of this state.

Gov't Code 573.001(3)


  1. One is a descendant of the other; or
  2. They share a common ancestor.

Gov't Code 573.022


  1. They are married to each other; or
  2. The spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual.

Gov't Code 573.024(a)–(b)

Former Board Member Employment

Incompatibility of Office

Restrictions on Public Servants—Federal Law


18 U.S.C. 201(a)(1)–(2); Dixsonv. U.S., 465 U.S. 482, 499 (1984) (holding that employees of a private organization that administered federal housing grants for city were "public officials" because they had some degree of official responsibility for carrying out a federal program or policy); U.S. v.Franco, 632 F.3d 880 (5th Cir. 2011)

  1. Being influenced in the performance of any official act;
  2. Being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
  3. Being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person.

18 U.S.C. 201(b)(2)

Bribery—Federal Programs

  1. Embezzles, steals, obtains by fraud, or otherwise without authority knowingly converts to the use of any person other than the rightful owner or intentionally misapplies, property that:
    1. Is valued at $5,000 or more, and
    2. Is owned by, or is under the care, custody, or control of the organization, government, or agency; or
  2. Corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person, or accepts or agrees to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of the district involving anything of value of $5,000 or more.

18 U.S.C. 666

Vernon College



DATE ISSUED: 3/18/2016