The Public Integrity Section was created in 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, in order to consolidate in one unit of the Criminal Division the Department’s oversight responsibilities for the prosecution of criminal abuses of the public trust by government officials.
The Section investigates and prosecutes alleged misconduct of public officials in all three branches of the federal government, as well as state and local public officials. PIN has exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of criminal misconduct on the part of federal judges and also supervises the nationwide investigation and prosecution of election crimes. The Election Crimes Branch , created in 1980, oversees the Department’s response to election crimes, such as voter fraud and campaign-financing offenses.
PIN handles cases independently but also often works in partnership with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. In addition to taking cases all the way from initial investigation through trial and conviction and appeal, the Section provides advice and consultation to U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and serves as the Justice Department’s center for handling various issues that arise regarding public corruption statutes and cases. Department policies require that the Section is consulted on all investigations involving a Member of Congress or a congressional staff member, and all federal criminal matters that focus on violations of federal or state campaign financing laws, federal patronage crimes, and corruption of the election process.
The Section is staffed with experienced trial attorneys with extensive public corruption experience, who regularly provide briefings and training to federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement officers as well as foreign counterparts. These trainings assist foreign countries in their quest to combat public corruption and election crime in their respective countries. Presentations are generally conducted under the auspices of the State Department’s Foreign Visitor Program and the Justice Department’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training. In recent years, Section experts made presentations to officials from Argentina, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom. To request a speaker from the Section, please see the speaker request form.