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Corrupt Politician

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Nick: You know, there's lots worse things than movies. There's politicians and wars and forest fires, and famine and plague...uh, sickness, pain, warts, politicians...
Jack Slater: You already mentioned them.
Nick: I know I did. They're twice as bad as anything else.

Some politicians want to make the world a better place. They run for office and stay up late trying to help their constituents. This is not their trope.

This politician sees the world through Jade-Colored Glasses. He thinks it's a World Half Empty, with Black-and-Gray Morality. He's gotten family members appointed to positions and his friends get the government contracts he doesn't keep for himself. A constituent who comes to him for help had better be ready to hand over a juicy "campaign donation".

Some corrupt politicians just abuse and twist the system for their own ends. Nepotism may or may not be illegal, and steering contracts to your friends may just be the result of a small pool of available contractors, and of course a member of the committee for Big Oil is going to be acquainted with Big Oil. On the other hand, some are fully criminal and allied with The Mafia or some other criminal organization. They use their insider status to steer police investigations away from their crimes and exploit loopholes, engineer loopholes, or simply get rid of the law on their behalf.


A Corrupt Politician can be as minor as the mayor of a small town, a Corrupt Hick who runs everything for his own benefit. Or perhaps the Evil Chancellor, who would like nothing better than to usurp his boss. Or he could be President Evil, a full blown super villain in charge of an entire nation. Taken to the extreme, he's an Evil Overlord.

When you walk into a Chez Restaurant, you can expect to find the Corrupt Politician eating dinner with the Corrupt Hick, the Corrupt Corporate Executive, the Police Commissioner and The Don. He's probably on good terms with some evil aristocrats, princes, and queens, as well. Unlike the rest of them, the Corrupt Politician had to go through an election. Or at least the appearance of an election. The Corrupt Politician will assure them all that the Corrupt Bureaucrat, whom he appointed, will do what they want.


Might hide his corrupt activities from the public, in which case he is both a Villain with Good Publicity and possibly a Devil in Plain Sight. If such a foe is presented as an enemy of the heroes in a storyline, a hero may have trusted him in the past and even voted for him in one or more elections, much to his regret later.

Related to the Corrupt Politician is the Sleazy Politician, who isn't necessarily criminal, but still oozes distastefully low morals. See also the Amoral Attorney—in an American context, at least, these will frequently overlap, since many politicians are also lawyers by trade.

No Real Life Examples, Please! - There are too many to bother trying to list even if this wasn’t a contentious topic.

Go ahead, tell the world. It won't make a difference.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • A large proportion of the higher level villains in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, particularly the second season (the villains of the first were mainly Corrupt Corporate Executives, with political connections). These included the Big Bad and a couple of one shot antagonists.
  • Mr. Heartland, the mayor of Heartland City in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and The Dragon to Dr. Faker. He would also become a lacky of the Seven Barian Emperors and becomes a Barian himself in season II.
  • Pokémon: Ash and his friends encountered the Mayor of Trovitopolis, who was dealing with a mysterious creature wandering around in his sewer. Rather than find a humane solution to it, he was willing to kill it for political gain, and decides to close the manholes up. When told Ash and his friends have gone down there, he is willing to free them... in a week, after the election. Then it turns out the creature was a Bulbasaur he abandoned as a child, and rather than make peace with it, he sends his goons to kill it.
  • In Private Actress, one of Shiho Kobayakawa's jobs includes getting close to a guy like this. The man was the former lover of Shiho's Cool Big Sis and Parental Substitute, Makiko Mori, who even bore him an illegitimate child named Hiromi (who lives in the country with Makiko's family). To punish the guy for mistreating his former mistress, Shiho makes herself pass for Hiromi when the guy wants to "clean up" huis image as a part of his latest campaign and, being a mix of All Loving Heroine and Guile Heroine, manages to make him pull a Heel–Face Turn. (As a bonus, Hiromi turns out to be a teenage boy, though to be fair one with a Gender-Blender Name.)

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Asterix in Switzerland has the Roman governor of Condatum who took ridiculously large amounts of tax money in his province for his own purposes while only giving a meager four or five gold pieces to Rome. The plot itself starts when an inspector from Rome came to his province to investigate this and he is poisoned by said governor, which ends up bringing Asterix and co. into the picture.
  • Every single politician Batman meets in Gotham with the exception of District Attorney Harvey Dent and Police Commissioner Gordon. Justified because Gotham is a Wretched Hive: Marion Grange was not corrupt and tried to help Gotham, but she was underfunded and was assassinated before her term ended.
    • One of the more notable examples is councilman Rupert Thorne, who was such a major antagonist in the late 70s comics that he was invited to an Auction of Evil reserved for the most prominent Batman rogues.
    • A common scenario in adaptations or Elseworlds stories is for either Penguin or Two-Face to run for Mayor. In nearly all such stories, they fit the trope pretty well.
  • Pack has Sally Huffman, the Brooklyn Boroughs President who has dreams of moving up to being state senator.
  • In the Crapsack World of Sin City, being honest is contraindicated. Any politician who commits an act of honesty is committing an act of suicide.
  • Famed Superman arch-enemy Lex Luthor spent some time as President of the United States. It did little to cut down on his supervillainy.
  • Wanted: In a world run by super villains, some of the politicians have to be on the take.
  • Watchmen gives us President Nixon on his fourth term, and reporters dead. We can trust the Comedian when he tells us that's a coincidence.
  • The Transformers (the original Marvel series, specifically the Headmasters miniseries) featured Lord Zarak of the Nebulan Council of Peers. Whereas his political rival, Galen, sought to open talks with the newly-arrived Autobot colonists looking to escape their Forever War, Zarak sought to undermine Galen's position on the Council by manipulating events to paint the Autobots as the invaders he perceived them to be. When he couldn't turn public opinion fast enough - even after hiring anti-Autobot protestors - he turned to inviting the Decepticons to Nebulos just to get rid of the Autobots. Zarak even went so far as to become Scorponok's Headmaster partner just to counter Galen's bonding with Fortress Maximus. To say it didn't go well is an Understatement. When he finally realized what he'd done, Zarak convinced Galen to take the Autobots to Earth, while Zarak would take the Decepticons to pursue. This effectively exiled them from their homeworld for the rest of their lives, but ensured Nebulos would have the chance to recover.
  • The Transformers (IDW) comics featured a diverse corrupt Senate. With the Decepticons rising, Proteus issues some pretty harsh plans, hoping to stop the lower classes from rebelling by having them lobotomized, and killing anyone in his way (and even before the uprising, disfiguring and reprogramming any enemy of the corruption). Ratbat seeks to profit from the whole uprising. Decimus isn't as corrupt, simply set in the ways of the rich profiting over the poor. Shockwave may be the only non-corrupt senator, as he tries to stop the deaths and killings. Ironically, we learn that Senator Momus was in league with the Decepticons because... He hung out with poor people, and invited them to parties.
    • The Primes before Optimus recovered the true Matrix were even worse: Nominus was a pawn of the Senate, Sentinel used his position to push for social Darwinist ideals, and Zeta took about four seconds to go from "friendly and approachable guy" to "blinged-out robot Skeletor".
  • In one three-part Spider-Man story, there was Senator Bradley Miles. Somewhat penny-ante as far as this Trope went (the greater evils here were Doctor Octopus and a Mega-Corp named Biotechnix, which Miles was accepting bribes from), but one very memorable part of the story was when Spidey confronted him and threatened to leak the story to the press:
    Miles: What makes you think they'll believe you over me?
    Spidey: Because I'm not a politician!
  • Lots of X-Men villains, most of them anti-mutant bigots:
    • Senator Robert Kelly, often seen as a dark satire of Joseph McCarthy, is likely the most well-known. He was originally the mastermind behind the Mutant Control Act and Project: Wideawake, government programs aimed at creating the updated Sentinels to hunt down and kill mutants. He was a main antagonist in Days of Future Past, X Men Noir, and the Alternate Universe setting House of M. (But in Age of Apocalypse, another Alternate Universe, he was a good guy, if a little naive.) He was also a recurring villain in the film and animated adaptations, though he experienced a level of Adaptational Heroism in the animated series from the 1990s.
    • Graydon Creed, leader of several anti-mutant hate groups, including the Friends of Humanity, Purifiers, and Upstarts, was a candidate for President during Operation: Zero Tolerance, running on an anti-mutant platform until he was assassinated.
  • Crimson featured Victor Van Fleet, an US senator who is secretly a very powerful vampire lord with aspirations for presidency. He is also in league with Lisseth to bring forth the apocalypse.
  • Button Man: The Voices, the people who pay for and organize the duels to the death between the Button Men, includes several politicians.
  • Raptors: Senator Paxton is an American senator and member of the vampire council.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Senator David Hale helps work to impose sanctions and a barricade around Themyscira at the behest of his villainous girlfriend Victoria Cale with the end goal being war with the Amazons in order to steal their technology and other resources.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Death Note political AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything, most of the cast are either this or merely callously indifferent to the suffering of others. Light claims that an aspiring politician needs to at least look a bit corrupt just to look "approachable" in order to succeed in politics.
  • In the NCIS novel-length AU Shards To A Whole (NSFW), it's discovered that corruption in the US political system is so rife that every election since 1932 was rigged.
  • In Eros Turannos, Vader and Padme each acknowledge that there are various corrupt senators in both the Republic and the Empire, although Padme wants to believe at least some of them can be better where Vader has a very cynical view of the political process.
  • Halloween Unspectacular has President Fulton, introduced in the seventh edition's Story Arc. At first, he's just another Trumplica, but at the climax he sells out to PURITY, partially out of Fantastic Racism but mostly just so he can increase his own power base.
    • The story "Countdown", from the first edition, has the Prosperity Party, led by Vlad Masters. Using electoral fraud to gain a massive majority in the government, they then ram through legislation to allow for increased mining and processing of blue ectoplasm, despite how dangerous it is (both to mine and as a power source) simply because they can profit from it. And their reaction to the resulting public outcry is a military crackdown which triggers a civil war.
  • Earth's Alien History:
    • The leading Asari Matriarchs are shown in a very negative light, repressing any sort of cultural or technological change that might threaten their stranglehold on power. This reaches the point where, during the Reaper War, they undermine Marshal T'Drak's war effort, since her more progressive tactics are winning her enough prestige to be a potential rival, regardless of the danger they're putting their own citizens in as a result. After the war's end, T'Drak exposes all of this, then takes the public outcry as a mandate to stage a Military Coup and remove them all from power.
    • Torg, the Klingon governor of the Vantar system, takes advantage of the chaos of the Reaper War to make money by selling weapon and resources to the pirates roosting in the system. When this is uncovered during the post-war reconstruction, Mala and Kauri are sent to eliminate him for it.
  • Compared to the canon show, where he was reasonable, if a little flawed, Mayor Andre is turned into one of these in Miraculous! Rewrite. Case in point, rather then Chloe goading him into it, he choses to sabotage Clara's video shoot on his own, with Chloe even trying to prevent it. It also later reveal that he rigged the last election.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Racket, a 1928 silent film about bootleggers in what is clearly meant to be Chicago, features an entire corrupt city government, that always gets the local bootlegging kingpin out of jail whenever the honest cop arrests him.
  • The Big Lebowski: The Dude's run in with the Malibu chief of police doesn't go well for him. He may not be on the take, but he's willing to beat up a man when a local rich man asks him to.
    Chief: Jackie Treehorn draws a lot of water in this town. You don't draw shit, Lebowski.
  • Blazing Saddles has Hedley Lamarr, a corrupt attorney general who is driving honest settlers off their land for the benefit of the railroad company he has an interest in.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington has Senator Joseph Harrison Paine (Claude Rains) and Taylor (Edward Arnold), the boss of the machine that controls him.
  • Shoot 'em Up gives us a senator who sells out to the gun industry after said industry kills his shot at a miracle medical cure. Literally.
  • In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Senator Palpatine got elected, maybe even honestly. He's still a Machiavellian, scheming bastard with no ethical values besides prolonging his own stay in power and strengthening his grip on the Republic. He's also incidentally running both sides of the civil war he started.
  • The film of V for Vendetta turns the Norsefire into corrupt bastards who used a bioterror weapon against their own people in order to fuel their rise to power.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: Hendry might not do Shaw's bidding immediately, but he's definitely rubbing shoulders with shady folks and does seem to be getting paid for it.
    • The Wolverine: Noburo Mori, Minister of Justice, is doing nothing to enforce justice. Instead, he's trying to bump off his fiancée and fooling around with prostitutes.
  • On the Job: Senator Manrique, one of many influential government crooks who (indirectly of course) pay hitmen to assassinate their potential rivals — but considering the setting of the film, this is hardly surprising.
  • Deep Cover: Hector Guzman is a prominent Latin American politician who plays golf with George Bush Sr. and is also the kingpin of a drug cartel with his nephew Gallegos as the front man.
  • Police Academy; In the sixth movie, the villain behind the crime wave is a shadowy mastermind, revealed at the end to be the Mayor, using criminals to devalue property so he can buy it cheap, a multi-million dollar real estate scam.
  • Boss Tweed of Gangs of New York. While running a volunteer fire brigade, he spends so much time trying to sabotage rivals that he totally overlooks putting out fires. Then he tries to partner up with Bill the Butcher to get some muscle. He is in fact based on a real person of the same name, and the film did not much exaggerate the corruption.

  • A corrupt politician is out and about, traveling the world, when he meets a corrupt dictator. They start bragging about their exploits. The politician pulls out a picture and says, "See this bridge? I skimmed more than $5 million during its construction." The dictator pulls out a picture, "See this bridge?" "What bridge?" "Exactly."

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy plays this trope for laughs. The president of the galaxy is expected to be corrupt and is occasionally imprisoned upon election.
  • Willard Phule, of Phule's Company, aka Captain Jester, encounters Governor Wingas on his maiden tour after his promotion. The governor eagerly awaits a "campaign contribution" from the newly arrived very wealthy man.
  • Senator John Caddrick shows up late in the Time Scout series, is deep in bed with The Syndicate and personally ordered multiple murders. His reputation is fearsome and well-deserved.
  • Ender's Game ends with a war for control of Earth as the Chinese, Russians, and the US try to take control of the space fleet. Orson Scott Card's opinion, demonstrated in the Ender's Shadow series that succeeds it, of the elected Chinese and Russian governments is very poor.
  • The governments of the Alliance/Union universe are complex, to say the least, with government, economics, and the web of alliances all messily tied together, thanks to the vast distances involved in space travel and an FTL drive that isn't magical, and the fact that every space station and space ship is a separate nation. The Viking station is essentially a third world country, with the difficulties that implies, and the Esperance station is a border nation grown fat off of multiple, multiple smuggling operations. The government of Esperance is explicitly corrupt.
  • Robert A. Heinlein had a dim view of politicians in general and considered an idealist untrustworthy because he'll break any promise if convinced it's for The Greater Good. A dirty politician is trustworthy because he knows he has a reputation to maintain.
    • In Stranger in a Strange Land, Jubal Harshaw is glad to learn that Secretary Douglas, head of the Federated Nations, is the sort of politician who, once bought, stays bought.
    • Magic, Inc. has an extensive discussion of politics and the corruption that runs them when the protagonists try the legal route to ousting the titular company. The politics are so corrupt, they have to resort to fighting magic with magic.
  • Politicians don't often show up in the Aubrey-Maturin 'verse. Perhaps the most notable exception is Aubrey's father, General Aubrey, MP. Aubrey, in all innocence, tells his father about a stock tip he gotnote . The good General then tells everyone he knows. End result: Aubrey is convicted of the early nineteenth century version of insider trading, spends a day in the stocks, and loses his commission. Nice job, dad.
  • Discworld:
    • Subverted in Small Gods: The ruler of Ephebe is one of the only elected rulers on the Disc and they call him "Tyrant". Generally, he's honest, if somewhat cynical.
    • In The Last Continent, we learn that the remote and little-known land of XXXX also has an elected ruler — and a tradition of throwing each new ruler into jail as soon as he's elected, on the assumption that it will save time later.
  • Is there a single honest politician in Atlas Shrugged? No. In order to be a politician in that book, you have to want power over others, and that makes you a LEECH.
  • There's a parliamentary faction in the Prince Roger 'verse dedicated to overthrowing the Empire of Man which includes Roger's father. As part of the coup plot, the Empress is Mind Raped so severely that she ultimately steps down as Empress because her mind is so broken once the coup is finally put down.
  • Politics plays a major part in the Honor Harrington series, so of course this trope is in force.
    • Haven's Legislaturalists, Manticore's & Grayson's Opposition parties, and the Solarian League's bureacrats are almost exclusively split between the sleazy and the corrupt.
    • The series crowner is probably the Manticoran Progressive Party's leader Lady Elaine Descroix, who is so utterly ruthless and cynical that she makes her own corrupt Prime Minster blanch. We have to go to series reference materials to get a solid idea of what (if any) principles her party actually has, since she vocally disdains politicians who are led by them. She embezzles money and frames her sole semi-principled ally, she doctors diplomatic correspondence to hold on to domestic power and ends up provoking a war, and she turns out to be The Mole for a nation involved in slave trade.
    • In a very mild example, Sonja Hemphill engages in corruption when she chooses the needs of the Star Kingdom over the integrity of the military judicial system. When faced with the Court Martial of Captain Pavel Young, the heir to North Hollow, two of the officers on the trial are bought and paid for by North Hollow, while three others agree that the Captain has committed an offense that carries the death penalty. Hemphill agrees with the latter, but she knows that if Young is executed, it'll be impossible to get a declaration of war through Parliamentnote . She votes no on the capital offense, while voting yes on the charges that will get Young dishonorably discharged.
  • Insofar as there are politicians in Snow Crash, they're corrupt. Everyone's corrupt. Everything's corrupt.
  • In Tad Williams' Otherland, half the members of the Grail Brotherhood are heads of state. The rest merely own heads of state.
  • Many politicians in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, many of them Bothans. This is because Bothans have a very ruthless, predatory attitude towards politics, and they see any politician who isn't doing anything in his power and making whatever shady deals he needs to in order to cement his office and get rid of the opposition isn't doing his job right. This is particularly notable in The Thrawn Trilogy, when Bothan leader Borsk Fey'lya does everything he can to ruin Admiral Ackbar and take over his position even when it's detrimental to the New Republic war effort. Thrawn himself notes that he never tried subverting Fey'lya, since he was helping the Empire so well as he was that Thrawn just didn't need to.
  • In The Nexus Series, several characters on the ERD's side are terrified of Special Adviser Maximilian Barnes for the things it's been rumored he's done. This is justified in "Crux", where it's revealed that Barnes has orchestrated several fake transhuman terrorist attacks to drum up favor for candidates running on Anti-Transhuman Technology Platforms. He kills Dr. Holtzmann for figuring this out.
  • Victoria has several, ranging from city officials and up to President Evil, since the first part of the story chronicles the struggles of a band of vigilantes fighting the corrupt Establishment in a dystopian near-future United States.
  • In The Divine Comedy, they're put in the fifth Bolgia of Malebolge, the eighth circle of hell. Their punishment is to remain immersed in a lake of boiling pitch, lest demons called the Malebranche spear them with pitchforks and torture them.
  • In You Are Dead (Sign Here Please) all of Dead Donkey's politicians are corrupt as a matter of principle.
  • Lucius Cassius from Dark Shores uses favors, Blackmail and considerate fortune (acquired through shady means) to rise to the position of consul of Celendrial Empire. And everyone knows that he is not going to be a good leader of the country, as he is too hungry for power and conquest.
  • Commissioner Clive Viceman in The Mental State has ultra-conservative political views and gladly exploits his official position to boost his popularity. He prefers dealing increasing amounts of punishment to people who break the law because they are addicted to drugs rather than actually try to help them overcome their addictions. He is also willing to interfere with the rights of prisoners in order to spy on inmates, dig up dirt on them and expose them to the public.
  • In Jago, Sir Kenneth Smart is the minister responsible for the government's secret research into paranormal abilities (which he mostly views as a branch of weapons research; the only reason there isn't a psychic assassin training program is because of the stonewalling of one of his more principled subordinates). His research group has been aware of the villain's activities for years but has stuck to watching and not intervening in hopes of learning something that might have military applications. When the villain's activities end in a catastrophe with an enormous death toll, Sir Kenneth becomes a public hero by declaring that it will never happen again and using it as the excuse for a raft of strict law-and-order measures that he knows perfectly well have nothing to do with the actual cause of the disaster.

  • The song "Blood Red Dawn" by the Power Metal group Keldian is basically a giant Take That! against corrupt politicians that are in the pockets of the wealthy and the upper class, referring to them as "snakes of the earth". It goes out of it's way to portray just how dangerous they can be when they control both wars and the populace to line their own pockets and destroying peoples liberties.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel gives us a number of evil, never mind corrupt, politicians, thanks in no small part to the law firm of Wolfram and Hart. Two senators show up on screen, and far more are implied. One of them, Senator Helen Bruckner, is actually a demon who's taken over a human body (quite probably, Magnus Hainsley was responsible).
  • How corrupt is Mayor Wilkinson, of Buffy's Sunnydale? He sold his soul. The only reason Sunnydale exists is because he set it up as a demon/vampire smorgasbord. How does he keep getting elected, decade after decade? He's a genuinely competent and dedicated administrator who does an excellent job of running the city. He just also wants to become a giant snake demon.
  • Castle:
    • It gives us a district attorney willing to pervert the justice system to retain the backing of a very wealthy family. A mild example, but he nearly convicted an innocent man of murder to help secure his election.
    • There's also Mayor Bob, friend to Castle who features prominently in the episode 'Dial M for Mayor.' There's ample evidence to suggest that he's embezzling funds and was involved in a murder, but he attests that he's being set up. Subverted in that he's right and the conspiracy that shot down his run for governor are the same guys involved in Beckett's mother's murder.
    • "After the Storm" gives us William H. Bracken, Senator for New York and the man behind the murder of Beckett's mother.
  • The Dollhouse has a number of powerful connections. Yet another senator cashes in the favor. Hell, they got a doll elected as a senator so they could rig an investigation into themselves and set it up to fail.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The small council is often filled with self-serving courtiers.
    • Cersei has all the makings of a crooked politician (dishonesty, underhandedness, a sleazy private life, disregard for the law, self-entitlement, paranoia, etc) and very few of the attached Evil Virtues beyond ambition and determination. She's also occasionally murderous, but much less so than other courtiers or her book counterpart, until she goes genocidal and blows up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire, killing hundreds, if not thousands.
    Cersei: When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.
  • Near the end of Law & Order's run, we meet Governor Shavloy, who consorts with prostitutes and more.
  • Boardwalk Empire is built on this trope, as it shows obscene amounts of corruption in all levels of 1920s government going all the way to the White House.
  • Governor James Devlin of Oz is established as a corrupt politician and, over the course of the series, evolves into the modern American equivalent of an Evil Overlord.
  • A Wallander episode has a former Minister of Justice murdered for belonging to a human-trafficking ring and using his powers to protect his accomplices.
  • Most of the politicians on The Wire, with Senator Clay Davis earning particular mention for his alliance with Baltimore's organized crime syndicates. In fact, this guy is beyond shameless, even ripping off those same gangsters with some straight-up bullshitting about bribes that actually go nowhere and using his public office to protect himself from them. The show ultimately makes the depressing argument that political corruption is Inherent in the System, suggesting that its the easiest (if not the only) way to ensure re-election.
  • Parker's ex on Killer Women is a state senator who doesn't want to let her go. So he turns their divorce hearing into a complete sham by having a judge he just happens to be friends with hear the case. The judge then tries to make it sound like Parker's just being unreasonable for thinking the fact her ex is a Domestic Abuser counts as 'irreconcilable differences'.
  • Congressman Frank Underwood of House of Cards (US) is not above using any and all means necessary to reach his goals.
  • Dominion: David Whele, for all his talk of everything he does being for the sake of protecting Vega from extermination by the angels, is clearly only interested in advancing the power of himself and his family. This is best exemplified when Alex is revealed to be The Chosen One, and Whele views him as a personal threat, rather than the last hope for humanity's survival.
  • Every politician in Boss is corrupt, sleazy, useless, or some combination of the three.
  • Mostly averted in the weekly "Kevin Rudd: PM" segments on Rove Live where the titular character is quite fondly portrayed as not corrupt, just insane. Played straight by most of his "rouges gallery" of opposing politicians.
  • Pretty much the entirety of the Ukrainian government in Servant of the People.
  • From Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    “We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are more concerned with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government. Nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent. Nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital social problems of today. Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby, ulcerous, little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive. We are sorry if this impression has come across."
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "Fractured House", there's Julian Beckers, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who's a member of HYDRA.
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Wilson Fisk's abusive father Bill Fisk had the aspiration to be one, which is why he ran in the local elections. He funded his campaign by borrowing money from Don Rigoletto with the understanding that if elected he would repay the money through kickbacks. However, he lost and Rigoletto soon wanted his money back. He blamed his loss on his wife and attacked her, prompting Wilson to kill him in self-defense.
      • Wilson Fisk has a number of politicians on his payroll, such as Senator Randolph Cherryh, whose role is to alter zoning regulations so Fisk can complete his goal of turning Hell's Kitchen into residences for the rich.
      • District Attorney Samantha Reyes. She is ready to go through anything, including illegal measures, to get by, and turns out to be responsible for the botched sting that got Frank Castle's family killed. Matt says Reyes wouldn't even buy a pack of gum if it didn't further her career, while Karen finds that she has a habit of backstabbing her own allies to save her own ass.
    • Luke Cage (2016): Councilwoman Mariah Dillard is cousin to Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, and embezzled funds to fund the renovation of Cottonmouth's nightclub Harlem's Paradise. She's also responsible for scheming with Willis "Diamondback" Stryker to bulk-sell Judas bullets to the NYPD.
  • Hand of God: Pernell and Bobo, the mayor. Once Pernell gets religion, he starts to change somewhat, annoying Bobo to no end.
  • Gotham, in keeping with its canonical roots, has yet to have a mayor who isn't corrupt or downright villainous:
    • Aubrey James is rather openly in the pocket of the mob. While he's forcibly removed from office by Theo Galavan, following Galavan's own fall from power he tries to weasel his way back into power by having the city council appoint him back into office as an emergency measure, without any sort of election.
    • Theo Galavan kidnaps Mayor James and has him tortured for fun, while having a group of criminals broken out of Arkham and sent on a terror spree, just so he can be a hero by publicly stopping them, all so he can then win an emergency election to replace the missing James (and having his opposing candidates assassinated to ensure he wins). And all of this is to put him in position to take over Wayne Enterprises and use its resources to reshape Gotham in his image. Plus, wanting to kill Bruce to carry out a centuries old blood feud.
    • Penguin tries to rig the election between him and James in his favor by bribing election officials (though admittedly, Riddler takes the money back, just to prove that Penguin can win without bribery), and once in office continues to simultaneously run his criminal empire, including having people killed.
    • The new mayor and police commissioner in power at the start of Season 4 willingly cut a deal with Penguin, legalizing all crime committed by criminals who buy Penguin's permits, in order to cut back on violent crimes (as Penguin won't approve those and eliminates anyone who commits crimes without his permits)... and, it's implied, for a cut of the profits.
  • A running theme in Star Trek, starting with TNG and culminating with DS9, is the endemic corruption of the Klingon ruling class, despite their cultural emphasis on personal honor. First is the House of Duras, whose members (at least those we see) have conspired with foreign powers to subvert their own government. Next is Chancellor Gowron, who might be a Reasonable Authority Figure if not for his habit of putting personal ambition over the good of the Empire. Through all of this, the High Council's primary duty appears to be covering their own asses whenever there's a scandal.
  • On the Cheers episode "Where Nobody Knows Your Name" (Season 9, episode 4, original airdate October 11, 1990), Sam goes to visit Robin Colcord in his country club prison. As they leave the tennis court, an older man walks in and Sam points to him and says, "I voted for that guy."
  • Season 3 of Stranger Things has Mayor Larry Kline, who is revealed to have sold out to the Soviets, helping them to use legal loopholes to push out local land owners so that they can buy the land and build the Starcourt Mall on it as a cover for their Elaborate Underground Base. In his defense, he seems genuinely scared of them and implies he was forced into it, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing along with it even though he has the evidence to expose them.

  • In Welcome to Night Vale the City Council is ironically made less threatening by being this. As an immortal Hive Mind of Humanoid Abominations who've ruled the town since its inception and supposedly will one day assume their true form and devour it, the fact they also waste millions on ill-conceived public works projects, charge exorbitant prices for the bloodstones they have a monopoly on, and deflect blame or skip town whenever things go wrong is what makes them comical.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, quite a few politicians, notably the ministers, are shown to be corrupt and often working towards selfish goals at the expense of others.

  • Both Your Houses: All of them except for Alan. Sol is the worst, stating without shame that he wants the fleet anchored where it will make him money. Sol later tells Alan that it was corrupt politicians and corrupt corporate executives who built the railroads and steel mills that drive the American economy.
    Sol: By God, if there's anything I hate more than store liquor, it's an honest politician.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout: Flip a coin. Then shoot it. If you hit it, the elected official is honest. To be fair, there aren't very many elected officials. A lot of elders and warlords.
  • Grand Theft Auto gives us multiple examples. It's Grand Theft Auto.
  • Assassin's Creed I: Why bribe politicians when you can Mind Rape them? Still, some are Templars, some are Assassins, so this goes both ways.
  • Alfred Woden from Max Payne is a US Senator and leader of an Ancient Conspiracy that is behind much of the plot of the game. Though he is technically on Max's side, neither Max nor the player have any illusions about his morals.
    • The third game gives us Victor Branco, a Brazilian politician who masterminds the deaths of his siblings both to gain control over his family's fortune and to gain sympathy from voters. Also, he's involved in an Organ Theft ring.
  • Mirror's Edge says that the government has become corrupt, but the ending implies that the world isn't that bad.
    • Mirror's Edge: Catalyst is a reboot, and the world is somewhat different. For one thing, they've completely done away with the elections thing and straight up made the City of Glass a corporate oligarchy, with the ruling families as the owners of a few powerful compaines. Below them are the shareholders, then the various levels of "employs". Then you have several kinds of non-citizens. Hard to tell if having the political players being openly Corrupt Corporate Executives only out for more wealth and power makes this a subversion or played straight.
  • In Command & Conquer's Nod campaign, the faux "Risk"-Style Map shows, among other information, a percentage of government corruption.
  • A Choice of Games game called Heroes Rise has Mayor Victon, who is responsible for putting the Player Character's parents into a maximum-security prison for life without not only visitation but communication rights for what amounts to be self-defense during his time as a judge. This was obviously done as part of his run for the Mayor on the platform of regulation of Powered individuals. At the end of the game, he hints that he knew all about the Prodigal and did nothing while she worked hard to plan the city's destruction. He also openly threatens you and implies that there was more to your parents' imprisonment than you thought. Victon's corruption is even more evident in the sequel, where he openly allies himself with an anti-Powered group called the Meek and even has them orchestrate a potentially-deadly incident on the day of the Presidential Election in order to raise support for his campaign.
  • In Gangsters, every politician is this. Greasing palms is eventually a downright necessity if you wish to stay out of jail (and thus avoid losing the game), and good bribery is also required to take your enemies out of your way faster.
  • PAYDAY 2 has Councilman John Henry Simmons, better known by his alias of "The Elephant". Over the course of the game, he contracts the crew to help further his political career in various ways. These include framing his political rival for possession of drugs (which, to be fair, was a particularly selfish and evil example of Framing the Guilty Party, as said rival actually was involved in drugs and illegal arms dealing), rigging an election so that the Elephant's preferred candidate gets elected as mayor, and stealing the only working prototype of a cold fusion engine so that the oil companies that sponsor him can remain in business.
  • Subverted in Dying Light with Erol Assani. Despite claiming to have stolen millions of dollars from the banks of Harran in the wake of the localized Zombie Apocalypse, Assani is actually trying to distract the player character so that he can safely get himself and his family onto a helicopter out of the city. In actuality, he tried his hardest to get the helicopter to pick up Crane as well, but doesn't have any way of knowing how Crane will respond to finding out that the crew refuses to help him get out. His worst crime is actually being kind of petty and suspecting the worst of his head of security, who removed his leg to save his life the day that Antizin started being air dropped into the city.
  • This Is the Police has quite possibly the most corrupt city hall ever seen. Even more than The Wire.
  • Bunnylord in Not A Hero is a drug user with no moral compass. He's content with murdering his enemies and does good deeds only to gain votes to become mayor.
  • Persona 5 has Masayoshi Shido, a power-hungry politician who leads The Conspiracy that serves as the main antagonist of the second half of the game. He uses his connections to influence the masses so that he can become Prime Minister as well as to get away with any misdeeds, such as getting the protagonist put on probation when he stopped him from sexually assaulting a woman. And for worse, he is the father of Goro Akechi, aka The Traitor, and basically one of the biggest reasons Akechi is... the way he is.
  • The Big Bad of Streets of Rogue is the city's corrupt Mayor, a comical take on this whose sins include banning chicken nuggets, raising taxes after running on a promise to lower them, and confiscating all the alcohol in the city to hold a giant party. And the party sucked.
  • Scrapland has The Mayor. He and the Chief Of Police are partners-in-crime in a stolen objects trafficking ring.
  • In Verdict: Guilty!, Mayor Sang is responsible for the perennial corruption of the police force and takes a cut from all criminal activity in Seoul. And he's running for President of South Korea.
  • Tropico positively encourages the player to play President, El Presidente Magnifico, joyingly trampling at will on most of the rights of the people and basing a large chunk of the score and storyline on embezzlement and the cult of personality, providing the opportunity to rig or cancel elections, and having a whole submenu devoted to bribing, arresting or assassinating political opponents.
  • In The Spectrum Retreat, it's heavily implied that Governor Crow is corrupt, and that's the reason why he makes decisions that favour certain private sectors while harming the populace at large.
  • Kyohei Jingu of Yakuza is a high level politician in deep with the yakuza, and is actively attempting to murder his illegitimate daughter, Haruka, and her mother so that their existence won't threaten his career.
  • In the PlayStation 4 Spider-Man game, Norman Osborn is the mayor of New York City in addition to CEO and owner of Oscorp. As such, a lot of his decisions are made with consideration for how it could benefit his company, something that really grates on former-friend and business partner Otto Octavius.
  • Mutant Football League pokes fun at politicians left and right, but it's mentioned that there exists the Corrupt Politician Hall of Fame museum in the city of Chiraq, Killinois.

    Web Animation 
  • Ultra Fast Pony: Mayor Mare. She's completely upfront about the fact that she's embezzling money and exploiting her town for unpaid labor. In her very first scene, she says:
    Mayor Mare: I thank you all for coming, and for not running against me as Mayor, again. Especially after my last opponent was found dead in that river. We may never know how he got there.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Malcolm Hargrove, Chairman of the UNSC Oversight Sub-Committee, is both this and a Corrupt Corporate Executive after the reveal that he's the one who called the hit on the planet Chorus.
  • Society of Virtue has Doctor Evil Congressman.

    Web Comics 
  • Kai and Min-Min's father in Knite is one. In fact their father taking kickbacks and allowing pollution is the reason why the latter is ill. Unfortunately, going by what her brother says, she might not last too long.
  • Congressman Arthur Bennett in But I'm a Cat Person tries to be this. He isn't as good at manipulation and ruthlessness as he'd like to believe, though.

    Web Original 
  • Being the satirical political blog that it is, El Chigüire Bipolar will feature loads and loads of these, but for an example that stands out, the article Caldera demonstrates with recording that everybody is just as corrupt.
  • The Ruins of an American Party System has Huey Long. Using his role as Attorney General and the guise of friendship, he becomes The Man Behind the Man to President Floyd Olson. From this position of power, he's able to essentially build his own empire within the federal government, gaining leverage over numerous politicians with a vast amount of blackmail, forging alliances with the mob, and assassinating anyone who gets in his way. He's eventually exposed and indicted for his crimes, and commits suicide rather than face the courts.
  • Triumphant: A Davy Crockett Presidency has plenty of the usual examples of 19th century American political corruption, but there's an exceptional case in Daniel Sickles, who stages an Assassination Attempt on himself so that the sympathy will help him win the 1888 presidential election. Once in office, he then allows corruption to ran rampant so long as he can personally profit from it, and rigs numerous state-level elections so that he can pack key offices with his allies. And when he loses the 1892 election to Labor Party candidate Walter Earp (the alternate version of Wyatt Earp), he declares the election invalid and uses his allies in the military to try and either arrest or kill Earp and the rest of the Labor leadership though he ultimately fails and is executed for treason.

    Web Videos 
  • This video shows the way corrupt politicians use slander to beat their opponents.
  • Decker: It is heavily implied that President Davidson has accepted a number of bribes from special interest groups in exchange for special treatment.
  • The Call of Warr: Killsin is a civic administrator who started taking bribes to make specific rulings. He got away with it for a while, and gloated about how he used to have an office, authority, and women...but eventually, he got caught, and was nearly put in chains for it

    Western Animation 
  • Bandolero has Governor Campomayor. It's implied in some chapters that he become one thanks to Don Rodrigo's influence. Fortunately for the townspeople, at the end of the series he becomes nicer and sees the error in his ways
  • The Simpsons:
    • Mayor Quimby in is a massively over-the-top example. In fact, the mayoral motto is Corruptus in Extremis.
    • When Quimby is unseated by Sideshow Bob in "Sideshow Bob Roberts" in a rigged election, Bob turns out to be even worse.
    • There is also Congressman Bob Arnold in Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington. He takes a bribe to demolish the very forest that inspired Lisa's patriotic essay and was even willing to allow Mt. Rushmore to be fracked.
    • Senator Mendoza is from a Show Within a Show, the movie McBain, but he's pretty bad, being a drug kingpin who uses his connections as a cover for his operations.
    • Homer, of all people, became a clear example of this Trope in "Trash of the Titans", using underhanded tactics and Blatant Lies to win the election for City Sanitation Commissioner (unseating one of the few competent people in Springfield, to make it worse) and then causing a disaster that required the whole town to be moved. (Of course, you might partially blame everyone who was stupid enough to believe his "crazy promises", which is what the previous commissioner does).
    • The worst example on the show would no-doubt be Russ Cargill, the Big Bad of the The Simpsons Movie, an EPA official who becomes convinced Springfield is such a hellhole that he first has it sealed under a giant glass dome (that his company just happened to manufacture), then tries to blow the entire city to smithereens.
  • Mayor Adam West from Family Guy has no problems making deals with big polluters, wasting taxpayer money on solid gold statues of Dig 'Em the Honey Smacks Frog, or killing anyone who questions his methods. Of course, in his case, he's not so much greedy as violently insane.
  • Corrupt Politicians are everywhere in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Separatists have a point: the Republic Senate is corrupt and incompetent. Of course, so are many separatist governments... That the two sides of the conflict are being managed by Sith Lords probably plays a role in that.
  • Senator Safety from the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: SAFETY" is a parody of Senator Kelly. Less "corrupt" and more a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he tries to propose several absurd laws with child safety in mind until the Senate funds one of his projects just to get him to shut up. Unfortunately, the project (which involved Safety Bots, which parody the Sentinels) endanger the safety of children - and adults - more than they help it.

Statler: Corrupt politicians? What other kinds are there?
Waldorf: Unsuccessful ones!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!

Alternative Title(s): Evil Politician


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