Corrupt practices include tax evasion, nepotism, looting the national treasury, political bribery, unequal distribution of government contracts, unjust financing of political parties, unjust election administration, use of espionage (especially for domestic purposes), secret police and intimidation. This may lead to political blackmail and corruption in other spheres, to the encouragement of organized crime and violence, lack of credibility in institutions, alienation, apathy, subversive activities, revolution, disintegration, foreign intervention or stagnation. Although corruption is not the preserve of the public services nor solely a feature in developing countries, it is a major problem of public development administration and is a reflection of what happens in society generally. Its prevalence is linked with the power for development decisions being placed in the hands of public servants; and is important because of its impact on the way these decisions are used. The low level of remuneration of a majority of public sector employees, which very often rises at a rate well behind that of inflation and does not adequately compensate for changes in the cost of living, also encourages corruption.
Politicians are known to have taken bribes, payoffs, letting companies or other outside interests to pay speaking fees, trips, accommodation, "gifts" and "income" from joint business ventures, or simply act in ways which would be usually excused in people other than those officials of high fiduciary rank and trust. The public dilemma is often not whether the misconduct was committed but rather whether is was sufficiently serious, inappropriate or unreasonable to make an issue out of it which could rule someone forever out of public office.
Allegations of corruption and questionable practices are characteristic of political debate in many countries. Since politicians are protected by parliamentary immunity, little effort is made to investigate many of the accusations, some of which may be marked by efforts of the police to suppress evidence and to avoid any further action.