|“||Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.||”|
|— William Pitt the Elder|
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties.
Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and trafficking, it is not restricted to these activities. The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or poorly defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions.
Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning "rule by thieves".
Read more about this topic: Politics
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Famous quotes containing the words corruption and/or political:
“The traveller who has gone to Italy to study the tactile values of Giotto, or the corruption of the Papacy, may return remembering nothing but the blue sky and the men and women who live under it.”
—E.M. (Edward Morgan)
“Religion means goal and way, politics implies end and means. The political end is recognizable by the fact that it may be attainedin successand its attainment is historically recorded. The religious goal remains, even in mans highest experiences, that which simply provides direction on the mortal way; it never enters into historical consummation.”
—Martin Buber (18781965)