Reference Article

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Political corruption

Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain.

An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement.

Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities.

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.

The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction.

For instance, some political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another.

In some cases, government officials have broad or ill-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."

Some forms of corruption -- now called "institutional corruption" -- are distinguished from bribery and other kinds of obvious personal gain.

Campaign contributions are the prime example.

Even when they are legal, and do not constitute a quid pro quo, they have a tendency to bias the process in favor of special interests and undermine public confidence in the political institution.

They corrupt the institution without individual members being corrupt themselves.

A similar problem of corruption arises in any institution that depends on financial support from people who have interests that may conflict with the primary purpose of the institution.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Political corruption", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

See the following related content on ScienceDaily:

Related Videos

last updated on 2015-03-30 at 10:57 am EDT

Corruption Tours in Bucharest Expose Shady Romanian Culture

Corruption Tours in Bucharest Expose Shady Romanian Culture

AFP (Apr. 10, 2014) As the sun catches the light falling on Bucharest's historic sculptures one group of tourists is discovering a darker side of Romania's capital city, by taking part in a corruption tour. Duration: 01:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by
Doctor Lifts the Lid on 'Corruption' in China's Hospitals

Doctor Lifts the Lid on 'Corruption' in China's Hospitals

AFP (May 23, 2014) A Chinese doctor who lost her job continues working from the hospital lobby after whistleblowing about corruption in the health sector. Duration: 00:33 Video provided by AFP
Powered by
Twitter's Record-Breaking Vote

Twitter's Record-Breaking Vote

Reuters (Nov. 8, 2012) As the networks began to call the race in his favor, President Barack Obama took to Twitter, setting the record for the most tweeted event in political history.
Powered by
Bangladesh's Garment Factories Crippled by Political Strife

Bangladesh's Garment Factories Crippled by Political Strife

Reuters (Jan. 8, 2014) Political tension in Bangladesh is squeezing its $22-billion garment industry. Orders from global retailers have dropped, as they worry about unrest and disruptions to supply chains. Michaela Cabrera reports.
Powered by

Related Stories

Share This

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins