Public corruption refers to the use of an individual's position of trust or power for personal gain or to benefit a third party. Public corruption can take many forms and can occur at all levels of government, from local officials to federal officials. Public corruption can include activities such as:
Examples of public corruption include a public official accepting bribes in exchange for awarding contracts or taking official actions, an elected official using campaign funds for personal expenses, or a police officer accepting bribes to overlook criminal activity. Public corruption can also involve private citizens and organizations such as lobbyists, contractors, and businesses who bribe public officials to gain an unfair advantage or influence government decisions.
Public corruption undermines the integrity of government and erodes public trust in the political process, it also can have serious consequences such as wasted tax dollars, public safety issues, and a lack of faith in the legal system.