Transparency International defines corruption as “Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.” – read more here.


The difference between lobbying, advocacy and corruption is a subtle one. The goal of these practices is the same: it is about influencing the decision-making of people that have political power. Formally, lobbying and advocacy are done using legal means – lobbying can involve donations while advocacy purely relies trying to convince the politician. Corruption, on the other hand, is done using illegal means, such as bribery, threat etc. Already, this shows that the distinction depends on the legal system, and that corruption in some countries will be considered lobbying in others. Laws surrounding lobbying are supposed to be designed so that it becomes a constructive practice which allows groups, businesses and other entities to make their interest heard, thereby contributing to the political debate. On the other hand, corruption appeals to the politicians’ self interest. However, one can argue that some countries’ regulation is not hard enough, in which case lobbying becomes really close to corruption: it uses favors and money that a politician will take, not for the general good but for their own use and purposes. In exchange, the politician will take in account the will of the lobby, even if they think it is harmful to the rest or the community.

Check out Transparency International’s report on Lobbying In Europe.

For the U.S., the campaign has developed a plan for legal changes to roll back what they call the “legal corruption” of American politics.