Skip to main content
CRM 1500-1999

1730. Protection Of Government Processes -- "Official Proceeding" Requirement -- 18 U.S.C. 1512

Congress limits the coverage of § 1512 to official proceedings. 18 U.S.C. § 1515(a)(1) defines "official proceeding" as:

  1. a proceeding before a judge or court of the United States, a United States magistrate, a bankruptcy judge, a judge of the United States Tax Court, a special trial judge of the Tax Court, a judge of the United States Claims Court, or a Federal grand jury;
  2. a proceeding before the Congress; or
  3. a proceeding before a Federal Government agency which is authorized by law; or
  4. a proceeding involving the business of insurance whose activities affect interstate commerce before any insurance regulatory official or agency or agent or examiner appointed by such official or agency to examine the affairs of any person engaged in the business of insurance whose activities affect interstate commerce.

This definition is in large part, a restatement of the judicial interpretation of the word "proceeding" in §§ 1503 and 1505. However the case law interpreting these provisions also required that the proceeding had to be pending. See this Manual at 1722 and 1727. 18 U.S.C. § 1512 does away with the pending proceeding requirement for judicial matters and matters within the jurisdiction of Congress and Federal agencies. In the words of § 1512, "an official proceeding need not be pending or about to be instituted at the time of the offense." 18 U.S.C. § 1512(e)(1). See United States v. Scaife, 749 F.2d 338 (6th Cir. 1984). See also United States v. Shively, 927 F.2d 804 (5th Cir. 1991).

[cited in JM 9-69.100]