The problems of breadth did not arise from extortion by force, violence, or fear, but instead from the clause that was an afterthought.
Official right extortion in the Hobbs Act will be the focus: Its history, its language, and the expansions and retractions in its scope.
It will show that although the crime in the 1940s contemplated private racketeering, extortion at common law chiefly connoted governmental corruption.
THE HISTORY OF OFFICIAL RIGHT EXTORTION IN THE HOBBS ACT
This Part will support a broad reading of official right extortion as a matter of history.
33) When Congress passed the 1934 Act, legislators did not debate the official right language, probably because they passed it in response to "price fixing and economic coercion extortion by professional gangsters" such as John Dillinger.
41) The Hobbs Act and the Field Code use nearly identical language; the Field Code defines extortion as "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.
On that basis, it would be reasonable to conclude that corruptly impersonating a public official constituted official right extortion under New York law.
46) Although indeed scant and ambiguous, the legislative history of official right extortion in the Hobbs Act is illuminating in two respects.
New York adopted most of the Field Code in 1881, and the legislature further defined official right extortion.
Section 557 merits attention because it indicates that official right extortion in New York included the acceptance of a bribe by a public official.
54) Appealing the extortion conviction, the justice argued that he did not take the money for personal use.