United States v. Kenney

185 F.2d 1217 (1999)

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United States v. Kenney

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
185 F.2d 1217 (1999)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Ronnie Brunson Kenney (plaintiff) was an employee of BDM International, Inc. (BDM). Pursuant to BDM’s contract with the United States Air Force (defendant), Kenney was assigned as the acquisition manager for Starflite Boats’ contract to provide runway edge-marker systems for a Florida Air Force base. While acting as acquisition manager, Kenney remained employed, and paid, by BDM. A runway edge-marker was a large rubber mat, topped with a reflective marker, used to mark runway damage. As the acquisition manager, Kenney oversaw the day-to-day execution of Starflite’s contract. Although Kenney did not have decision-making authority, the Air Force relied on Kenney’s data and recommendations to make decisions regarding Starflite’s contract. Starflite was informed that Kenney was the Air Force’s project manager and incorrectly believed that Kenney had decision-making authority over the contract. Kenney offered to approve cost-saving contract modifications, including the use of cheaper mats, in exchange for a share of Starflite’s cost-savings. Starflite reported Kenney’s attempted bribery solicitation to the Air Force. After an investigation, the Air Force indicted Kenney for soliciting bribes while acting as a public official. At trial, jury instructions defined “public official” as a person who possessed some degree of official responsibility for carrying out a government program, either as a government employee or as a private individual acting on the government’s behalf, including the responsibility to make decisions or issue decision-making recommendations. The trial court convicted Kenney. Kenney appealed, arguing that (1) he was not a public official as defined under the federal bribery statute; and (2) the jury instructions defined “public official” too broadly.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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