CITES BY TOPIC: public office

PDF Words and Phrases, Volume 35: Public Officers

Black’s Law Dictionary, Abridged 6th Edition, p. 1230:

Public Office

“Essential characteristics of a ‘public office’ are:

(1)Authority conferred by law,

(2)Fixed tenure of office, and

(3)Power to exercise some of the sovereign functions of government.

(4)Key element of such test is that “officer is carrying out a sovereign function’.

(5)Essential elements to establish public position as ‘public office’ are:

    (a)Position must be created by Constitution, legislature, or through authority   conferred by legislature.

    (b)Portion of sovereign power of government must be delegated to position,

    (c)Duties and powers must be defined, directly or implied, by legislature or through legislative authority.

    (d)Duties must be performed independently without control of superior power other than law, and

    (e)Position must have some permanency.”

[Black’s Law Dictionary, Abridged 6th Edition, p. 1230]

63C Am.Jur.2d, Public Officers and Employees, 247

“As expressed otherwise, the powers delegated to a public officer are held in trust for the people and are to be exercised in behalf of the government or of all citizens who may need the intervention of the officer. [1]  Furthermore, the view has been expressed that all public officers, within whatever branch and whatever level of government, and whatever be their private vocations, are trustees of the people, and accordingly labor under every disability and prohibition imposed by law upon trustees relative to the making of personal financial gain from a discharge of their trusts. [2]   That is, a public officer occupies a fiduciary relationship to the political entity on whose behalf he or she serves. [3]  and owes a fiduciary duty to the public. [4]   It has been said that the fiduciary responsibilities of a public officer cannot be less than those of a private individual. [5]   Furthermore, it has been stated that any enterprise undertaken by the public official which tends to weaken public confidence and undermine the sense of security for individual rights is against public policy.[6]

[63C Am.Jur.2d, Public Officers and Employees, 247]

[1] State ex rel. Nagle v Sullivan, 98 Mont 425, 40 P2d 995,  99 ALR 321; Jersey City v Hague, 18 NJ 584, 115 A2d 8.

[2] Georgia Dep't of Human Resources v Sistrunk, 249 Ga 543, 291 SE2d 524.  A public official is held in public trust.  Madlener v Finley (1st Dist) 161 Ill App 3d 796, 113 Ill Dec 712, 515 NE2d 697, app gr 117 Ill Dec 226, 520 NE2d 387 and revd on other grounds 128 Ill 2d 147, 131 Ill Dec 145, 538 NE2d 520.

[3] Chicago Park Dist. v Kenroy, Inc., 78 Ill 2d 555, 37 Ill Dec 291, 402 NE2d 181, appeal after remand (1st Dist) 107 Ill App 3d 222, 63 Ill Dec 134, 437 NE2d 783.

[4] United States v Holzer (CA7 Ill) 816 F2d 304  and vacated, remanded on other grounds  484 US 807,  98 L Ed 2d 18,  108 S Ct 53, on remand (CA7 Ill) 840 F2d 1343, cert den  486 US 1035,  100 L Ed 2d 608,  108 S Ct 2022 and (criticized on other grounds by United States v Osser (CA3 Pa) 864 F2d 1056) and (superseded by statute on other grounds as stated in United States v Little (CA5 Miss) 889 F2d 1367) and (among conflicting authorities on other grounds noted in United States v Boylan (CA1 Mass) 898 F2d 230, 29 Fed Rules Evid Serv 1223).

[5] Chicago ex rel. Cohen v Keane, 64 Ill 2d 559, 2 Ill Dec 285, 357 NE2d 452, later proceeding (1st Dist) 105 Ill App 3d 298, 61 Ill Dec 172, 434 NE2d 325.

[6] Indiana State Ethics Comm'n v Nelson (Ind App) 656 NE2d 1172, reh gr (Ind App) 659 NE2d 260, reh den (Jan 24, 1996) and transfer den (May 28, 1996).

The "Trade or Business" Scam-nearly all "taxpayers" under I.R.C. Subtitle A are "public officers" of the United States Government

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PDF Officers of the United States Within the Meaning of the Appointments Clause, U.S. Attorney Memorandum Opinion

PDF A Treatise on the Law of Agency in Contract and Tort-George Reinhard, 1902.  Google Books

Treatise on Public Offices and Public Officers-Floyd Mechem, 1890.  Google Books

26 C.F.R. 1.1402(c)-2: Public Office

Title 26: Internal Revenue

1.1402(c)-2   Public office.

(a) In general—(1) General rule. Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph, the performance of the functions of a public office does not constitute a trade or business.

26 C.F.R. §1.864-7: Definition of office or other fixed place of business

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 26, Volume 9]
[Revised as of April 1, 2006]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 26CFR1.864-7]

[Page 318-321]
PART 1_INCOME TAXES--Table of Contents
Sec.  1.864-7  Definition of office or other fixed place of business.

    (a) In general.

     (1) This section applies for purposes of determining whether a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States at some time during a taxable year beginning after December 31, 1966, has an office or other fixed place of business in the United States for purposes of applying section 864(c)(4)(B) and Sec.  1. 864-6 to income, gain, or loss specified in paragraph (b) of Sec.  1.864-5 from sources without the United States or has an office or other fixed place of business outside the United States for purposes of applying section 864(c)(4)(B)(iii) and paragraph (b)(3)(i) of Sec.  1.864-6 to sales of goods or merchandise for use, consumption, or disposition outside the United States.
    (2) In making a determination under this section due regard shall be given to the facts and circumstances of each case, particularly to the nature of the taxpayer's trade or business and the physical facilities actually required by the taxpayer in the ordinary course of the conduct of his trade or business.
    (3) The law of a foreign country shall not be controlling in determining whether a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation has an office or other fixed place of business.
    (b) Fixed facilities--

    (1) In general. As a general rule, an office or other fixed place of business is a fixed facility, that is, a place, site, structure, or other similar facility, through which a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation engages in a trade or business. For this purpose an office or other fixed place of business shall include, but shall not be limited to, a factory; a store or other sales outlet; a workshop; or a mine, quarry, or other place of extraction of natural resources. A fixed facility may be considered an office or other fixed place of business whether or not the facility is continuously used by a nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation.
    (2) Use of another person's office or other fixed place of business. A nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business merely because such alien individual or foreign corporation uses another person's office or other fixed place of business, whether or not the office or place of business of a related person, through which to transact a trade or business, if the trade or business activities of the alien individual or foreign corporation in that office or other fixed place of business are relatively sporadic or infrequent, taking into account the overall needs and conduct of that trade or business.

[NOTE:  You can't have a "public office" until you have an "office", and you don't have one of these either!]

18 U.S.C. 201 Bribery of public officials and witnesses

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 11 > 201

201. Bribery of public officials and witnesses

(a) For the purpose of this section—

(1) the term “public official” means Member of Congress, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, either before or after such official has qualified, or an officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of the United States, or any department, agency or branch of Government thereof, including the District of Columbia, in any official function, under or by authority of any such department, agency, or branch of Government, or a juror

Osborn v. Bank of U.S., 22 U.S. 738 (1824)

All the powers of the government must be carried into operation by individual agency, either through the medium of public officers, or contracts made with individuals.  Can any public office be created,  or does one exist, the performance of which may, with propriety, be assigned to this association [or trust], when incorporated? If such office exist, or can be created, then the company may be incorporated, that they may be appointed to execute such office. Is there any portion of the public business performed by individuals upon contracts, that this association could be employed to perform, with greater advantage and more safety to the public, than an individual contractor? If there be an employment of this nature, then may this company be incorporated to undertake it.

There is an employment of this nature. Nothing can be more essential to the fiscal concerns of the nation, than an agent of undoubted integrity and established credit, with whom the public moneys can, at all times, be safely deposited. Nothing can be of more importance to a government, than that there should be some capitalist in the country, who possesses the means of making advances of money to the government upon any exigency, and who is under a legal obligation to make such advances. For these purposes the association would be an agent peculiarly suitable and appropriate. [. . .]

The mere creation of a corporation, does not confer political power or political character. So this Court decided in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, already referred to. If I may be allowed to paraphrase the language of the Chief Justice, I would say, a bank incorporated, is no more a State instrument, than a natural person performing the same business would be. If, then, a natural person, engaged in the trade of banking, should contract with the government to receive the public money upon deposit, to transmit it from place to place, without charging for commission or difference of exchange, and to perform, when called upon, the duties of commissioner of loans, would not thereby become a public officer, how is it that this artificial being, created by law for the purpose of being employed by the government for the same purposes, should become a part of the civil government of the country? Is it because its existence, its capacities, its powers, are given by law? because the government has given it power to take and hold property in a particular form, and to employ that property for particular purposes, and in the disposition of it to use a particular name? because the government has sold it a privilege [22 U.S. 738, 774]   for a large sum of money, and has bargained with it to do certain things; is it, therefore, a part of the very government with which the contract is made?

If the Bank be constituted a public office, by the connexion between it and the government, it cannot be the mere legal franchise in which the office is vested; the individual stockholders must be the officers. Their character is not merged in the charter. This is the strong point of the Mayor and Commonalty v. Wood, upon which this Court ground their decision in the Bank v. Deveaux, and from which they say, that cause could not be distinguished. Thus, aliens may become public officers, and public duties are confided to those who owe no allegiance to the government, and who are even beyond its territorial limits.

With the privileges and perquisites of office, all individuals holding offices, ought to be subject to the disabilities of office. But if the Bank be a public office, and the individual stockholders public officers, this principle does not have a fair and just operation. The disabilities of office do not attach to the stockholders; for we find them every where holding public offices, even in the national Legislature, from which, if they be public officers, they are excluded by the constitution in express terms.

If the Bank be a public institution of such character as to be justly assimilated to the mint and the post office, then its charter may be amended, altered, or even abolished, at the discretion of the National Legislature. All public offices are created [22 U.S. 738, 775]   purely for public purposes, and may, at any time, be modified in such manner as the public interest may require. Public corporations partake of the same character. So it is distinctly adjudged in Dartmouth College v. Woodward. In this point, each Judge who delivered an opinion concurred. By one of the Judges it is said, that 'public corporations are generally esteemed such as exist for public political purposes only, such as towns, cities, parishes and counties; and in many respects they are so, although they involve some private interests; but, strictly speaking, public corporations are such only as are founded by the government for public purposes, where the whole interest belongs also to the government. If, therefore, the foundation be private, though under the charter of the government, the corporation is private, however extensive the uses may be to which it is devoted, either by the bounty of the founder, or the nature and objects of the institution. For instance, a bank, created by the government for its own uses, whose stock is exclusively owned by the government, is, in the strictest sense, a public corporation. So, a hospital created and endowed by the government for general charity. But a bank, whose stock is owned by private persons, is a private corporation, although it is erected by the government, and its objects and operations partake of a public nature. The same doctrine may be affirmed of insurance, canal, bridge, and turnpike companies. In all these cases, the uses may, in a certain sense, be called public, but the corporations are private; as much [22 U.S. 738, 776]   so, indeed, as if the franchises were vested in a single person.[. . .]

In what sense is it an instrument of the government? and in what character is it employed as such? Do the government employ the faculty, the legal franchise, or do they employ the individuals upon whom it is conferred? and what is the nature of that employment? does it resemble the post office, or the mint, or the custom house, or the process of the federal Courts?

The post office is established by the general government. It is a public institution. The persons who perform its duties are public officers. No individual has, or can acquire, any property in it. For all the services performed, a compensation is paid out of the national treasury; and all the money received upon account of its operations, is public property. Surely there is no similitude between this institution, and an association who trade upon their own capital, for their own profit, and who have paid the government a million and a half of dollars for a legal character and name, in which to conduct their trade.

Again: the business conducted through the agency of the post office, is not in its nature a private business. It is of a public character, and the [22 U.S. 738, 786]   charge of it is expressly conferred upon Congress by the constitution. The business is created by law, and is annihilated when the law is repealed. But the trade of banking is strictly a private concern. It exists and can be carried on without the aid of the national Legislature. Nay, it is only under very special circumstances, that the national Legislature can so far interfere with it, as to facilitate its operations.

The post office executes the various duties assigned to it, by means of subordinate agents. The mails are opened and closed by persons invested with the character of public officers. But they are transported by individuals employed for that purpose, in their individual character, which employment is created by and founded in contract. To such contractors no official character is attached. These contractors supply horses, carriages, and whatever else is necessary for the transportation of the mails, upon their own account. The whole is engaged in the public service. The contractor, his horses, his carriage, his driver, are all in public employ. But this does not change their character. All that was private property before the contract was made, and before they were engaged in public employ, remain private property still. The horses and the carriages are liable to be taxed as other property, for every purpose for which property of the same character is taxed in the place where they are employed. The reason is plain: the contractor is employing his own means to promote his own private profit, and the tax collected is from the individual, though assessed upon the [22 U.S. 738, 787]   means he uses to perform the public service. To tax the transportation of the mails, as such, would be taxing the operations of the government, which could not be allowed. But to tax the means by which this transportation is effected, so far as those means are private property, is allowable; because it abstracts nothing from the government; and because, the fact that an individual employs his private means in the service of the government, attaches to them no immunity whatever.”

[Osborn v. Bank of U.S., 22 U.S. 738 (1824)]

Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company, 500 U.S. 614 (1991)

“One great object of the Constitution is to permit citizens to structure their private relations as they choose subject only to the constraints of statutory or decisional law. [500 U.S. 614, 620]  

To implement these principles, courts must consider from time to time where the governmental sphere [e.g. “public purpose” and “public office”] ends and the private sphere begins. Although the conduct of private parties lies beyond the Constitution's scope in most instances, governmental authority may dominate an activity to such an extent that its participants must be deemed to act with the authority of the government and, as a result, be subject to constitutional constraints. This is the jurisprudence of state action, which explores the "essential dichotomy" between the private sphere and the public sphere, with all its attendant constitutional obligations. Moose Lodge, supra, at 172. “

[. . .]

Given that the statutory authorization for the challenges exercised in this case is clear, the remainder of our state action analysis centers around the second part of the Lugar test, whether a private litigant, in all fairness, must be deemed a government actor in the use of peremptory challenges. Although we have recognized that this aspect of the analysis is often a fact-bound inquiry, see Lugar, supra, 457 U.S. at 939, our cases disclose certain principles of general application. Our precedents establish that, in determining whether a particular action or course of conduct is governmental in character, it is relevant to examine the following: the extent to which the actor relies on governmental assistance and benefits, see Tulsa Professional Collection Services, Inc. v. Pope, 485 U.S. 478 (1988); Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715 (1961); whether the the actor is performing a traditional governmental function, see Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953); Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946); cf. San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic [500 U.S. 614, 622]   Committee, 483 U.S. 522, 544 -545 (1987); and whether the injury caused is aggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority, see Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948). Based on our application of these three principles to the circumstances here, we hold that the exercise of peremptory challenges by the defendant in the District Court was pursuant to a course of state action.

[Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company, 500 U.S. 614 (1991)]

McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350 (1987)

Fraud in its elementary common law sense of deceit -- and this is one of the meanings that fraud bears [483 U.S. 372] in the statute, see United States v. Dial, 757 F.2d 163, 168 (7th Cir.1985) -- includes the deliberate concealment of material information in a setting of fiduciary obligation. A public official is a fiduciary toward the public, including, in the case of a judge, the litigants who appear before him, and if he deliberately conceals material information from them, he is guilty of fraud. When a judge is busily soliciting loans from counsel to one party, and not telling the opposing counsel (let alone the public), he is concealing material information in violation of his fiduciary obligations.

* * * *

Second, the systematic and long-continued receipt of bribes by a public official, coupled with active efforts to conceal the bribe-taking from the public and the authorities . . . is fraud (again in its elementary sense of deceit, and quite possibly in other senses as well), even if it is the public, rather than counsel, that is being kept in the dark. It is irrelevant that, so far as appears, Holzer never ruled differently in a case because of a lawyer's willingness or unwillingness to make him a loan, so that his conduct caused no demonstrable loss either to a litigant or to the public at large. See, e.g., United States v. Keane, 622 F.2d 534, 541, 546 (7th Cir.1975); United States v. Lovett, 811 F.2d 979, 985 (7th Cir.1987); United States v. Manton, 107 F.2d 834, 846 (2d Cir.1939). How can anyone prove how a judge would have ruled if he had not been bribed?

[McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350 (1987)]