15. Crimes of the Powerful
Political crime refers to “governmental or political party officials engaging in illegal and improper activity for personal gain” (Friedrichs, 2007, p. 134). One type, “influence peddling,” refers to the use of one’s government position to sell access to a major government decision-maker, such as a cabinet member, prime minister, or president of a country. Commonly, access is desired to obtain favourable legislation, such as tax subsidies for a particular corporation, or lucrative government contracts. For example, in what has been called the biggest fraud case in Canadian history, officials within the SNC-Lavalin corporation were convicted of bribery. SNC-Lavalin paid government insiders to obtain a lucrative contract to build a hospital in Montreal (CBC/Radio Canada, 2019). SNC-Lavalin has also been found guilty of violating election financing laws in Canada. To get around restrictions on corporations donating to political parties, SNC-Lavalin convinced employees to donate, and then later reimbursed them through faked personal expenses or fictional bonuses (CBC/Radio Canada, 2019).
governmental or political party officials engaging in illegal and improper activity for personal gain.