Corruption in the United States

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Corruption in the United States is the act of government officials abusing their political powers for private gain, typically through bribery or other methods.

Bribery act of giving money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient

Bribery is the act of giving or receiving something of value in exchange for some kind of influence or action in return, that the recipient would otherwise not offer. Bribery is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty. Essentially, bribery is offering to do something for someone for the expressed purpose of receiving something in exchange. Gifts of money or other items of value which are otherwise available to everyone on an equivalent basis, and not for dishonest purposes, is not bribery. Offering a discount or a refund to all purchasers is a legal rebate and is not bribery. For example, it is legal for an employee of a Public Utilities Commission involved in electric rate regulation to accept a rebate on electric service that reduces their cost for electricity, when the rebate is available to other residential electric customers. Giving the rebate to influence them to look favorably on the electric utility's rate increase applications, however, would be considered bribery.


In 2018, Transparency International ranked the United States as the 22nd least corrupt country, [1] falling from 18th since 2016. [2] In 2019, during the Trump Administration, Transparency International stated that the United States is "experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances", along with an "erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power. [3]

Transparency International e.V. (TI) is an international non-governmental organization which is based in Berlin, Germany, and was founded in 1993. Its nonprofit purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption. It publishes for example the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index. Transparency International has the legal status of a German registered voluntary association (Eingetragener Verein) and serves as an umbrella organization. Its members have grown from a few individuals to more than 100 national chapters which engage in fighting corruption in their home countries. TI confirmed the dis-accreditation of the national chapter of United States of America in 2017.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Separation of powers under the United States Constitution

Separation of powers is a political doctrine originating in the writings of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws, in which he argued for a constitutional government with three separate branches, each of which would have defined abilities to check the powers of the others. This philosophy heavily influenced the writing of the United States Constitution, according to which the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States government are kept distinct in order to prevent abuse of power. This United States form of separation of powers is associated with a system of checks and balances.

American Anti-Corruption Act American model legislation

The American Anti-Corruption Act (AACA), sometimes shortened to Anti-Corruption Act, is a piece of model legislation designed to limit the influence of money in American politics by overhauling lobbying, transparency, and campaign finance laws. It was crafted in 2011 "by former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter in consultation with dozens of strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from across the political spectrum," and is supported by reform organizations such as Represent.Us, which advocate for the passage of local, state, and federal laws modeled after the AACA. It is designed to limit or outlaw practices perceived to be major contributors to political corruption.

Campaign finance in the United States is the financing of electoral campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, campaign finance law is enacted by Congress and enforced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an independent federal agency. Although most campaign spending is privately financed, public financing is available for qualifying candidates for President of the United States during both the primaries and the general election. Eligibility requirements must be fulfilled to qualify for a government subsidy, and those that do accept government funding are usually subject to spending limits on money.

Gerrymandering in the United States Setting electoral district boundaries to favor specific political interests in legislative bodies

Gerrymandering is the practice of setting boundaries of electoral districts to favor specific political interests within legislative bodies, often resulting in districts with convoluted, winding boundaries rather than compact areas. Gerrymandering in the United States has been used as early as 1788 to increase the power of a political party; the term "gerrymandering" was coined on review of Massachusetts's redistricting maps of 1812 set by Governor Elbridge Gerry, so named for its resemblance to a salamander.

Convictions of government officials

Political scandals and crimes

See also

Crime in the United States has been recorded since colonization. Crime rates have varied over time, with a sharp rise after 1963, reaching a broad peak between the 1970s and early 1990s. Since then, crime has declined significantly in the United States, and current crime rates are approximately the same as those of the 1960s.

Corruption in Canada institutional corruption in the country of Canada

Transparency International's 2016 Corruption Perception Index ranks Canada as the 9th least corrupt nation out of 176 countries, and the least corrupt nation in the Americas. However, in recent years corruption has been an increasingly large problem in government, industry and non-governmental organizations. For instance, in 2013, the World Bank blacklisted SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries from "bidding on its global projects under its fraud and corruption policy" due to the Padma Bridge scandal. Canada also ranks at the bottom of the bribery-fighting rankings, "with little or no enforcement of anti-bribery measures". The 2014 Ernst & Young global fraud survey found that "twenty percent of Canadian executives believe bribery and corruption are widespread in this country". According to a study by the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan, "a large proportion of Canadians see their politicians and their institutions as fundamentally corrupt".

Related Research Articles

Police corruption is a form of police misconduct in which law enforcement officers end up breaking their political contract and abuse their power for personal gain. This type of corruption may involve one or a group of officers. Internal police corruption is a challenge to public trust, cohesion of departmental policies, human rights and legal violations involving serious consequences. Police corruption can take many forms, such as bribery.

Corruption Perceptions Index Wikimedia list article

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an index published annually by Transparency International since 1995 which ranks countries "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private benefit".

Corruption in the Philippines

The Philippines suffers from widespread corruption. Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, and patronage.

Corruption in Pakistan Major problem limiting international investment

Corruption in Pakistan is widespread, particularly in the government and lower levels of police forces. Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 117th out of 180 countries Pakistan saw a significant improvement in its statistics in 2013 when its ranking improved by 12 indices compared to its previous rankings – 139 out of 174 in 2012, 134 out of 182 in 2011, 143 out of 178 in 2010, and 139 out of 180 in 2009.

Corruption in Colombia

Corruption in Colombia is a pervasive problem at all levels of government, as well as in the military and police forces. A general culture and awareness of this corruption permeates society as a whole.

Crime in Ukraine

Crime in Ukraine is combated by the Ukrainian Police and other agencies.

Corruption in Ukraine

Corruption is widespread in Ukrainian society. Transparency International's 2018 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 120th place out of 180 countries.

Corruption in Italy

Corruption in Italy is a major problem. In Transparency International's annual surveys, Italy has consistently been regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the Eurozone. Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 54th place out of 180 countries. Corruption costs Italy a reported €60 billion a year, which amount to four percent of its GDP. On the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, Italy took 61st place out of 174 countries, scoring on a par with Senegal, Montenegro, and South Africa. Political corruption remains a major problem particularly in Lombardy, Campania and Sicily where corruption perception is at a high level. Political parties are ranked the most corrupt institution in Italy, closely followed by public officials and Parliament, according to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2013.

Corruption in France

Corruption in France describes the prevention and occurrence of corruption in France.

Corruption in Mexico History and details of corruption in Mexico

Corruption in Mexico has permeated several segments of society – political, economic, and social – and has greatly affected the country's legitimacy, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness. Many of these dimensions have evolved as a product of Mexico's legacy of elite, oligarchic consolidation of power and authoritarian rule.

Corruption in Turkey

Corruption in Turkey is an issue affecting the accession of Turkey to the European Union. Transparency International's 2016 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 75th place out of 176 countries, while the 2017 index saw Turkey fall back to 87th place. Turkey ranked 78th of the 180 countries surveyed as part of the 2018 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. This makes it comparable to Tunisia (73rd), Bulgaria (77th) and China (87th).

Corruption in Romania

Corruption in Romania is considered a major problem. According to Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index, as of 2018, Romania is the 61st least corrupt country out of 180 countries, down from the 57th place in 2017, and the fourth most corrupt in the European Union. In the 2014 EU Anti-Corruption Report, 57% of the Romanians were most likely to say they are personally affected by corruption. Corruption can be found both in the public sector and in private businesses, and poses concerns for foreign investors. Although there have been improvements since the late 1990s, corruption remains a problem in Romania as it is especially found on all levels of public office, in the police force as well as in the judiciary system. Generally, despite efforts using laws and regulations to prevent corruption, enforcement has been weak. Since 2014 however, the investigation and prosecution of medium- and high-level political, judicial and administrative officials by the National Anticorruption Directorate has increased The National Anticorruption Directorate was established in 2002 by the Romanian government to investigate and prosecute corruption related offenses causing damage to the Romanian state.

Corruption in Switzerland

Council of Europe's Group of State Against Corruption (GRECO) in its evaluation report noted that specificities of Switzerland's institutions which enjoy considerable public confidence. It underlines, however, that the very organisation of the system allows subtle pressure to be exerted on politicians and the judiciary.

Corruption in Portugal

Corruption in Portugal is examined on this page.

Corruption in the Czech Republic

Corruption in the Czech Republic is considered to be widespread by a majority of the Czech public, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013.

Corruption in Austria

Austria has a well-developed institutional and legal system, and most corruption cases under investigation by a parliamentary committee end with judicial trials and effective judgments. However, there are several significant Austrian corruption cases which have taken place during the past decade involving land and regional officials, high-level public officials, the central government and, in one instance, the former Chancellor.

Corruption in Malaysia considered rampant by the people

According to a 2013 public survey in Malaysia by Transparency International, a majority of the surveyed households perceived Malaysian political parties to be highly corrupt. A quarter of the surveyed households consider the government's efforts in the fight against corruption to be ineffective.

Corruption in Cameroon

Since independence, corruption has been more than prevalent in Cameroon. In fact, corruption has become pervasive and has affected all sectors of the government and civil society including the executive, judiciary, police, and even the private sector. The main causes being a deep lack of political will to fight corruption and neopatrimonialism. Other causes include; personal interests & absence of duty conscience, weak judiciary &almost nonexistent opposition in the legislative, nepotism & favouritism, ineffective system of accountability, among others.

Corruption in Bulgaria

Corruption in Bulgaria has been a central problem of the country's government since the late 1990s, and fighting it has been at the top of the government's agenda. Despite that, Bulgaria has "systematically demonstrated very high levels of perception of corruption." Government officials reportedly engage in embezzlement, influence trading, government procurement violations and bribery with impunity.


  1. "Corruption Perceptions Index 2018". Transparency International. January 29, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  2. "Corruption Perceptions Index 2016". Transparency International. January 25, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  3. "Americas: Weakening Democracy and Rise in Populism Hinder Anti-corruption Efforts". Transparency International. January 29, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.

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