Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, it is not restricted to these activities.
The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or poorly defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning "rule by thieves".
July 6, 2011: A panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejects arguments from attorneys for George Ryan, a former Illinois governor already in federal prison, that his conviction for public corruption should not stand. In upholding a lower court's finding against Ryan, the three judges say a conclusion that he had accepted bribes or kickbacks "verges on the inescapable. The district court's opinion canvasses the evidence and demonstrates why a reasonable jury could find that Ryan sold his offices to the high bidders."
During much of Patrick Fitzgerald's decade as U.S. attorney in Chicago, some Illinois pols have waged a plaintive whispering campaign with