The term political crime refers to illegal or unethical acts Involving the usurpation of power by government officials, or illegal/unethical acts perpetrated against the government by outsiders seeking to make a political statement, undermine the government, or overthrow It. Government officials may use their authority unethically or illegallyfor the purpose of material gain or political power (Simon, 1996). They may engage in graft (taking advantage of political position to gain money or property) through bribery, kickbacks, or "insider" deals that fiuancially benefit them. Por example. In the late 1980s. several top Pentagon officials 'were found guilty of receiving bribes for passing classified information on to major defense contractors that had garnered many lucrative contracts from the government (Simon, 1996). Other types of corruption have been costly for taxpayers. including dubious use of public funds and public property, corruption in the regulation of commercial activities (such as food inspection), graft in zoning and land-use decisions. and campaign contributions and other favors to legislators that corrupt the legislative process. Whereas some political crimes are for personal material gain, others (such as illegal wiretap ping and political "dirty tricks") are aimed at gaining or maintaining political office or influence. Some acts committed by agents of the ~overnment against persons and groups believed to be threats to national security are also classified as political crimes. Four types of political deviance have been attributed to some officials: (J) secrecy and deception designed to manipulate public opinion, (2) abuse of power, (3) prosecution of individuals .tae to their political activities, and (4) official violence, such as police brutality against people of color or the use of citizens as unwilling guinea pigs in scientific research (Simon, 1996).
Political crimes also include illegal or unethical acts perpetrated against the government by outsiders seeking to make a political statement or to undermine or overthrow the government. Examples include treason. acts of political sabotage. and terrorist attacks on public buildings