Politics - Political Corruption

Political Corruption

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".

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Famous quotes containing the words corruption and/or political:

    I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its “successful experiment” that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.
    Andrew Jackson (1767–1845)

    From the beginning, the placement of [Clarence] Thomas on the high court was seen as a political end justifying almost any means. The full story of his confirmation raises questions not only about who lied and why, but, more important, about what happens when politics becomes total war and the truth—and those who tell it—are merely unfortunate sacrifices on the way to winning.
    Jane Mayer, U.S. journalist, and Jill Abramson b. 1954, U.S. journalist. Strange Justice, p. 8, Houghton Mifflin (1994)