Monday, October 30, 2006

Political corruption

In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse by government officials of their governmental powers for illegitimate, usually secret, private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, like repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption.
All forms of government are susceptible to political corruption. 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 organized crime activities. In some nations corruption is so common that it is expected when ordinary businesses or citizens interact with government officials. The end-point of political corruption is a kleptocracy, literally "rule by thieves".
What constitutes illegal corruption differs depending on the country or jurisdiction. Certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some countries, government officials have broad or not well defined powers, and the line between what is legal and illegal can be difficult to draw.


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