Bribery is the act of promising, offering, or giving a professional or person of authority something of value (i.e. money, property, services, or favors) in order to skirt the rules or ethics in a given situation. Bribery is a type of corruption that can occur in a number of professional and political situations. Though any one in a place of power and authority may be subject to bribery, public and government officials, police officers, legal professionals, doctors, bankers, and other business professionals are those most likely to become the subjects of bribery solicitations.
Bribery and similar illegal transactions in the political sphere alone cost the world an estimated one trillion dollars every year. On a larger scale, bribery is rampant within and between governments in all corners of the world. Less prosperous nations and those who export oil and certain other resources have been found to be particularly vulnerable to bribery and other corrupt activities, though even the wealthiest nations are not immune.
The most notable form of bribery in the political realm involves campaign contributions from powerful corporations or other special interest groups. These factions give sizeable sums of money to public officials when they are running for, or currently in, office so that policy and other decisions will be made in the bribers’ favor. Campaign contributions are commonplace and much controversy and policy making has centered on this form of bribery. Political bribery can also involve corrupted inspections, tainted land use, and much more.
Bribery can significantly undermine the rule of law when this form of corruption takes place in the judicial system. Judges, district attorneys and other legal professionals may receive bribery offers to render a particular decision in the briber’s favor, drop or fail to press charges against a criminal or group of criminals, and similar activities. In the 1980s Operation Greylord exposed rampant bribery activity in Chicago’s bench and bar community.
Bribery can also involve medical professionals, particular when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical behemoths may make bribery offers to doctors in order to ensure that there drugs are heavily prescribed. The American Medical Association has developed ethical guidelines that prohibit doctors from accepting favors or gifts based on pharmaceutical sales.
Bribery can take place in any professional industry or political practice. Bribery has significant legal repercussions for those who are convicted of this felony offense. The federal government has developed various agencies and policies aimed at increasing the transparency of professional transactions in order to expose acts of bribery and other corruption. If you are interested in learning more about bribery, please contact us to speak with an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case to determine how best to protect and maximize your legal rights and interests.
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