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Screw the Rules, I Have Money!

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Yami Yugi: Wait a minute, did you just summon a bunch of monsters in one turn?
Kaiba: Yeah. So?
Yami Yugi: That's against the rules, isn't it?
Kaiba: Screw the rules, I have money!

Let's face it: life sucks, especially when you don't have much money to your name. This goes double in the world of fiction, where those that have money always try to find ways to make things miserable for those who don't. Such things as The Power of Love and The Power of Friendship generally have no effect on them. As long as they have money, they can do anything... even get away with murder or crimes against humanity. Or Buy Them Off for whatever evil deeds they did commit. Therefore, a wealthy person who adopts this attitude has a greater chance of becoming a Karma Houdini than any poor person.

The sad fact is, this trope is literally Older Than Dirt. Since the dawn of civilization, there have been rich people who have been shallow enough to believe that everything and everyone could be bought, and the old proverb, "Money is the root of all evil" is based on a passage from The Bible note .

Usually done to characterize the Corrupt Corporate Executive, the Mr. Vice Guy, the Mega-Corp, and members of the Fiction 500. Compare Appeal to Wealth, Conspicuous Consumption, Undisclosed Funds, Idle Rich, Bribing Your Way to Victory. Will sometimes be highlighted in a Not on the List scene where the character simply throws cash at the Bouncer or doorman and gains entry into whatever exclusive event or restricted place their heart desires.

Contrast Miser Advisor, who doesn't have the money, but "screws the rules" in order to get it. Also contrast Crimefighting with Cash, which is usually the opposite of this, though they can overlap if the 'hero' uses wealth to avoid legal entanglements caused by their vigilantism.

Compare the closely-related Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!. The Lawful Counterpart and defiance to this trope is Screw the Money, I Have Rules! along with the less lawful but just as defiant counterpart Screw the Money, This Is Personal! Also contrast Money Is Not Power (when trying to invoke this trope backfires either because of the prior Trope or because circumstances are such that people have no need for money), Bribe Backfire (when trying to invoke this trope just worsens the consequences instead) and Comically Small Bribe (when trying to invoke this Trope doesn't work because you are not using enough money).

Can lead to low-class characters hating on rich people with such attitude.

A Super-Trope to Every Man Has His Price and Video Game equivalent to Pay To Win.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ai Kora has Ayame Yatsuhashi, who constantly does this, mostly in her efforts to get into Maeda's pants.
  • Washizu from Akagi is able to get away with several murders, though it causes him some inconvenience. The cop Yasuoka figures it's a better idea to pit him against Akagi in a high-stakes game of mahjong rather than trying to confront him by legal means.
  • A recurrent theme in Ashita no Nadja, where lots of rich people are portrayed this way.
  • Attack on Titan: The merchant in Episode 6 whose cart is blocking the escape route for the civilians because it's stuck in the narrow passageway. The civilians try to get a soldier to arrest him, but the merchant fires back by saying he's the one who brings the food for the peasants. He also tries to make Mikasa cooperate, but she instead forces him to remove the cart so the civilians could escape.
  • Himekawa of Beelzebub subverts this: he only uses his money when opponents in an online game use magic to cheat against him and his friends, to which he buys out the game so he can enforce Screw the Rules, I Make Them! at will.
  • Halekulani from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo might be a parody of this. As a master of "Gorgeous Shinken" ("Fist of Gorgeous"), for him, money is power; his energy attacks are rated by their dollar value, and he can increase his strength by absorbing all the profits from the amusement park he owns. One of his more dangerous attacks actually turns his opponents into coins.
  • In Boys over Flowers, the F4 is allowed to do whatever they want at school, including harassing students they haven't found a reason to like, just because their families donate the most money to the school. Later on, it's learned that Domyoji got away with beating a guy until his organs ruptured due to his family paying off the school and the boy's family. And later still, Domyoji's mother Kaede attempts to pay Tsukushi's family hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep Tsukushi from dating her son.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is the embodiment of this trope. Fitzgerald can use the cost of money in dollars or cents and increase his strength proportionate to the amount of money he used.
  • One popular Memetic Mutation from Code Geass as to how Schneizel breaks many rules of chess at once to 'win' a chess match: see here
  • Subverted with Hokuto of Cromartie High School, who transferred to Cromartie planning to intimidate everyone by threatening to get them expelled by his father, chairman of the school board... but he actually transferred to the wrong school. Not only is his father not the head of the school board, it's a municipal school and thus doesn't even have one.
  • In [C] – Control, the money quite simply makes the rules.
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund: Face it, there is no way short of paying off the national debt to get any first world country to allow (let alone build) a fully extraterritorial concession within sight of the capital, especially with a projected population of 100,000. Fortunately for the Vampire Queen, she has the money to do just that.
  • Eden of the East features several characters with ludicrously large cash reserves and a concierge who helps them do whatever they want with it, including bribing the Prime Minister, serial murder, launching missiles at Japan, and building a nice hospital.
    • Bribing the PM only cost 60 yen.
  • In Gamble Fish, Emily Dawn can do anything from shooting priceless artwork to driving a whole tank through a cafeteria wall, but because she's the scion of a rich American defense contractor and Abidani's niece, no one can do a thing about it.
  • Kazuharu Fukuyama from Girls Bravo, mostly to be an antagonist to the milksopy but ambivalent Yukinari.
  • This trope can be attributed to Hayate the Combat Butler's Mask the Money (really Nagi wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise), who often solves her problems with her vast riches (and everything else with Hayate).
    • The Very Nice People chasing Hayate prior to this point do an inversion of this, "She has money, obey the rules." When one less-than-intelligent member asks why they don't kill everyone anyways, aren't they Card Carrying Villains? His smarter co-worker smacks him and says No, the Very Nice People leaves people who do pay them alone. That's the point.
  • ...And then the "Chairman" from Kaiji kicks it up a notch, having things like a cruise ship and a hotel to use as private gambling venues, with people disappearing or getting killed at them seemingly posing no problem.
  • In Kekkaishi, Yugami facilitates a jailbreak from an island by simply throwing a wad of cash into the face of anyone who objected. Rude but effective.
  • Kaneo Takarada in Kill la Kill is a heroic version of this trope (well, anti-heroic anyway): His family is just as rich as the Kiryuin family, and he opposes the Kiryuin family's takeover of Japan (and later the world) and their tyrannical leadership by throwing money around to people able to help him. That is, this is a setting where the law itself is unjust, and while he may play pretty dirty himself, he pays people off to protect his hometown of Osaka and to fund La Résistance, buying them everything and everyone they need.
  • This drives the plot for Liar Game. The elaborate organization manages to get away with forcing billion-dollar debts on people simply because it's so rich and powerful (though it also helps that none of the people bothered going to actual, real lawyers).
    • And subverted spectacularly on Yokoya, who previously was able to buy his way out of any situation with money. In the Pandemic Game, one of his teammates had turned sides and locked himself in a room, forcing Yokoya to persuade to come out by offering money. But after slipping cheque after cheque underneath the door, the teammate still wasn't satisfied and kept demanding more money, until Yokoya lost his cool and began kicking the door in frustration. Then, we find out that it was Akiyama in the room all along and Yokoya had been giving free money to his archrival this whole time!
  • Mari Ohara from Love Live! Sunshine!!, a student of Uranohoshi High School, shouldn't be able to buy the literal highest position in the school's hierarchy, much less maintain it as an active student. She does so anyway because her family funds the school. Granted, she proves to be entirely capable of handling the job despite being an apparent Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Kakuzu from Naruto is shown to present this argument to Hidan when they go to capture a monk for a bounty. Hidan tells Kakuzu that killing a monk is a one-way ticket to hell, to which Kakuzu replies that even hell is run on money and that he'll be fine.
  • Giovanni from Pokémon: The Series gets away with this, so much so that he can personally come down to the police station and bail out Team Rocket members.
  • The Kunos from Ranma ½ are often depicted this way by fanon, although objectively other characters in the series do just as bad with fewer resources (Nabiki comes to mind).
    • Sometimes the Kunos really are this way. After steadfastly rejecting to sell a Phoenix Egg to Tatewaki, on the basis that it bears a terrible secret and the Phoenix Sword it bestows is too dangerous to exist, the owner of an antiques store quickly folds and sells the egg when slapped with a wad of bills. Twice.
  • Takeda Kanryu of Rurouni Kenshin lives by this trope. He doesn't understand Aoshi's point that Kenshin can't be bought - if Kenshin was motivated by gain, he'd have taken a high-paying army post after the war. In the anime, this ultimately results in the quote at the bottom of this page - right before Kenshin breaks his jaw and turns him over to the police for dealing in opium.
  • Momoka Nishizawa, from Sgt. Frog, uses her money in ANY possible plan to declare to Fuyuki. She even bought an island and built a five-star hotel so she could spend time with him!
    • Also, she has her own satellite to spy on his house.
  • Shinzen Tennozou, among several other Speed Grapher characters.
    • Chouji Suitengu actually lampshades this often in the series, as well as invoking the trope constantly. When he encounters the son of a debtor that he had just had murdered, Suitengu says "If you want my life, make money, then come and buy it."
  • In Spirited Away, this is the "lesson" that No-Face learns from the bathhouse residents, where he gives them gold and he is able to have them do his bidding. Chihiro's parents had blind faith in their money ("Daddy's got credit cards and cash"), which gets them into trouble when they assume the price for eating the spirits' food is paper money or credit.
  • Shirogane Ryou and Aizawa Minto from Tokyo Mew Mew are both obscenely rich and love nothing more than to tick off Ichigo by showing off their wealth. However, they aren't all that bad.
  • Tower of God - Prince presumably only got as far as he did because his father bribed some test administrators.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, you find out that Kinzo used a special scheme to buy up Rokkenjima against the laws of the Japanese government, and then bribed a bunch of people in order to keep it.
  • Shutaro Mendou in Urusei Yatsura.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! gets away with a lot because of his wealth. The trope name comes from a line (quoted above) in the first episode of the Gag Dub Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, which parodies this. In fact, both the line and the concept are running jokes throughout the (abridged) series.
    • During the actual anime, in the "Waking the Dragons" filler arc, Kaiba decides to go pay Dartz a visit. Since he's in a hurry he and Mokuba grab a random car from a car lot. When the salesman protests, Kaiba just writes a 500,000 dollar check for it before driving it out of the lot without giving him a chance to respond.
    • Manjoume/Chazz Princeton of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX indulged in this trope prior to his Character Development, as this conversation from this English dub shows:
      Chazz: No one calls Chazz Princeton a coward!
      Foster: Talk is cheap, young duelist.
      Chazz: That may be, but I'm rich! And I'll spend whatever it takes to be the best out there!
      Foster: Ha-ha, that's just your problem — no amount of money can buy you that. You must earn it... if you can.
    • And as a video showed, by Season 3, it seemed the GX writers were deliberately tossing in jokes in the vein of The Abridged Series:
      Ojama Yellow: Take it, easy boss, you'll pop a blood vessel!
      Chazz: I don't care! I'll just BUY a new one!
  • The Black Black Club from YuYu Hakusho runs on this trope. It reaches a peak in The Dark Tournament's third round, which one guy turns into his own little Screw-the-rules fest. And then, ironically, when the other members of the club use their money to screw with the rules further, he has them all killed.

  • George Carlin relates this double standard on his 1971 album "AM/FM":
    I got fired in Las Vegas...from the Frontier Hotel for saying "shit." In a town where the big game is called "craps." Seems to be some sort of double standard. I'm sure there was some Texan standing outside the casino saying (gruff Texan voice) "Aw, shit! I crapped out!" And they fly those guys in for free, man.
  • There's an old joke, repeated by Gilbert Gottfried, about a man who walks into the bank and demands to open "a fucking bank account." The teller is not amused and calls over her manager. The manager asks if there's a problem, and the man replies that he wants to open "a fucking bank account for $800,000."
    "Oh, and is this cunt giving you a hard time?"

    Comic Books 
  • Batman RIP: The Black Glove mock Batman saying that there is no court they cannot bribe and that they have even more money than him. They still lose the fight though. Then they are all killed by either Talia or The Joker.
  • Shows up at the end of the Blacksad premiere album "Somewhere within the Shadows". After offering Blacksad to come work for him instead of pursuing his revenge fails, Ivo Statoc instead tries to buy him off. Blacksad rejects him again and makes a point of defying Statoc's attempt to invoke this trope.
  • Also from The DCU, there's foppish dilettante Most Excellent Superbat, who proudly claims this as his superpower. As he puts it in Final Crisis # 6: "I have the greatest power of all, Mister Miracle. I am so rich, I can do anything." Although it's left somewhat ambiguous as to whether he's referring to this (using his money to keep himself out of trouble) or Crimefighting with Cash, as he deliberately modeled his superhero persona on Batman. (It's both, really; he's so rich he bought Japan.)
    • Another pair of DCU examples - Niles "the Chief" Caulder and Steve "Mento" Dayton of the Doom Patrol. The former got implicated in arranging the "accidents" which turned the team members into freaks. The latter whipped up a gadget cranking his psionic abilities up, but has a side effect of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity which has caused him to turn into a criminal mastermind and try to kill his own adopted son! Furthermore, the only reason Dayton made that helmet in the first place was that he was a Stalker with a Crush trying to impress Rita "Elasti-Girl" Farr.
  • Happens fairly often in Diabolik, with various one-shot criminals getting away with their crimes by bribing Ginko's superiors. They tend to be one-shot characters because they appear in the issue Diabolik robs them, and in the process tends to expose their crimes beyond their abilities to pay their way out of trouble, bankrupt them, kill them (the usual end), or any combination of the three.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Scrooge McDuck is well-known for his meanness, but when it comes to treasure hunting, it's nearly the opposite. For example, in Don Rosa's "Guardians of the Lost Library", it seems that the Library of Alexandria is buried under a modern football stadium. A match is going on and the digging after the library will break it, which will be a breach of the rules. But Scrooge just says to the officials: "Okay, then I buy both teams and stadium."
    • In an older story by Vicar, when on a trip in the Australian Outback, he gets told the train leaves once a day, and it has already done so today. "My name is Scrooge McDuck. (picks a million or two out from his hat) I hereby BUY the whole railroad. A train leaves NOW!" It works!
  • The Doctor Who Magazine strip gives us Josiah Dogbolter, head of intergalactic corporation Intra-Venus Inc., who attempts to buy the TARDIS from the Doctor.
  • Nodwick:
    • In one adventure, the main characters encounter a Riddling Sphinx, who challenges them with a riddle for passage. Arthax remarks that they're not really all that clever and they just want to get through the dungeon, so he offers her a bribe (haggling it down to 275 gold and Nodwick's lunchbox). As the party passes by the sphinx:
      Nodwick: The answer [to the riddle] was "money", by the way.
      Yeagar: Weren't you paying attention? The answer is always money!
    • In a later strip, they bribe the local mayor to create a law against "looking evil without a license" to run a Lawful Evil wizard out of town (he hadn't done anything actually illegal at that point).
  • The Penguin:
    • Should he get caught in an illicit activity without a backup plan to get him out of it, Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin usually either bribes the corrupt Gotham police force or relies on his lawyers to get him out of it, much to Batman's frustration.
    • Though this is a definite case of Depending on the Writer; other comics depict Batman as considering the Penguin such a valuable informant that he doesn't really bother investigating the Iceberg Lounge's illegal dealings too closely -as long as Penguin doesn't pull anything too bad.
  • Parodied in PS238. The Revenant, a Captain Ersatz of Batman, has not only one but several wealthy cover identities in order for him to integrate into civilian society. Most of said cover identities are on various state-wanted lists for tax evasion charges, because The Revenant only pays taxes for one of them. He's also said that he thinks that having money might actually be the greatest superpower of them all.
  • Robin (1993): Even after having to declare bankruptcy and considering himself broke Jack Drake bribes politicians to get his way. When Tim ends up in Gotham while the city is quarantined he bribes his way into getting his son, but no one else, evacuated against federal orders.
  • Sin City's Yellow Bastard could get away with anything (especially rape) because his father was a US Senator, and the patriarch of an excessively powerful and wealthy family that owns the bulk of Basin City. Until Hartigan got ahold of him, the Yellow Bastard got away with child rape and murder.
  • Spider-Man: Wilson "The Kingpin" Fisk, particularly the Ultimate Marvel version.
  • Superman:
    • The corrupt politician/businessman version of Lex Luthor. His entire MO is doing evil things for his own gain and getting away with it, all without scratching his Villain with Good Publicity status by using loads of deeply entrenched influence to torpedo all evidence.
    • The Death of Lightning Lad: After the titular hero's death, R.J. Brande -billionaire industrialist and the Legion of Super-Heroes' main backer- strong-arms the United Planets organization into letting the Legion handle the army of Zaryan -who was responsible for Lightning Lad's death- by reminding them how many of their projects he has personally funded.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Mona Menise is utterly furious a police officer would dare to pull her over for reckless driving after she totaled a parked car on her way by. She continues on this path of thinking she can buy her way out of or into anything until she realizes she can't make Steve Trevor leave Diana for her at which point she nearly kills Steve and a large crowd of spectators at Holliday College, which gives Diana the opportunity to take her to the prison on Paradise Island which Menise cannot buy her way out of.

    Fan Works 

Fifty Shades of Grey

  • In Lucky Number Thirteen, Sharon mocks the idea that Christian thinks he can do whatever he wants because of his wealth, telling Ana: "Don't let him back you into a corner because he's got money. God knows he loves trying to convince you how powerful and wonderful he is just because he's got a massive bank account. It doesn't work that way—you've got plenty of evidence against him."

Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire

  • Purple Days: After centuries in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, Joffrey has found this is an effective way to quickly get anything he needs from a ship to an education


  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Mega-Corp big-shot Walter Simmons would apparently "throw out his sales pitch and toss money at the problem without hearing what anyone has to say" if he had his own way, according to his heiress daughter.

Harry Potter

  • In How [Not] To Date a Gryffindor Harriet's family have been petitioning the Wizengamot to legally recognize transgenderism. Lucius Malfoy reveals Harriet's transgender status despite her being a minor.
    Tom: Lucius decided to write his son a letter regardless of the laws.
    James: Yep, and he happily paid the fine that the Wizengamot gave him for that stunt. When people are that rich, fines mean nothing. It's only the poor that get hurt while having to pay them. Lily taught me that.
  • In Oh God, Not Again!!, Harry is constantly able to bribe government officials for whatever he wants, including a Time Turner for Hermione and a pardon for Sirius.

The Hunger Games

  • In The Last Tribute from The End of the World series, Haymitch invokes this by having one of his sponsors talk about what a shame it is that their slaves to the rules that say only one tribute can survive the Hunger Games.
    Haymitch: The notion to being slaves to something as mundane as rules will rankle a certain class of Capitolite, and she knows it.
  • Showdown: No Holding Back: The District 8 male originally reaped, Florian, came from one of the richest families in the District and called out that he would generously pay the family of anyone who volunteered for him. Tesu took up that offer.

Invader Zim

  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: Near the end of his introduction in Chapter 7, Aldrich Coathanger gloats about how being a trillionaire means that he can buy his way out of anything. Something he demonstrates after the destruction of his VR gaming facility by literally throwing money at the cops so they won't investigate him, and at Jeff Sheffy to stop reporting about it, which works in both cases. He later throws even more money at the judge and jury during the Courtroom Episode when Zim's lawyer manages to trick him into exposing himself as a child murderer, making everyone forget about the entire case as they fight over the cash.

Jackie Chan Adventures

Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Lies of omission: His parents manage to get Peter into University despite not having a high school degree and only being sixteen because they paid the school a small fortune.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • The Karma of Lies:
  • Leave for Mendeleiev sees Adrien attempt to use this on Plagg, offering to buy him 'the biggest wheel of Camembert ever made' in exchange for sharing secrets. Plagg is caught off guard, but refuses, knowing full well that Adrien hasn't proven himself worthy yet... and that his attempts at bribery aren't doing him any favors.
  • Played With in A Price to Pay: After Gabriel Agreste causes a car accident that results in Tom Dupain-Cheng's death, he bribes the judge to avoid any legal repercussions. However, the real reason Tom died is because Gabriel/Hawkmoth made a reality-altering Wish to bring his wife Emilie back... and while she has no idea about said Wish, she's able to see how callously he handles the whole affair, and is so disgusted she divorces him. Thus, while Gabriel got his Wish and evaded legal consequences, he's still seen as a murderer, and Emilie wants nothing to do with him.


  • In White Rain, Lucia van Alstyne tries this on the Hokage - Uzumaki Naruto. While it doesn't quite work, Shikamaru reveals that for all intents and purposes, she does own a hefty chunk of Fire Country, and probably Konoha as well.


  • Sapphire in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is a non-malicious example of this trope. She aspires to become a Pokémon Researcher one day, and is saving a lot of money in case the higher-ups in the university don't accept the data she has collected on her own.


  • Children of Remnant: The deliveryman who brings Jaune and the boys alcohol originally objects to leaving the alcohol with minors, but Sun gets him to leave by leaving him a generous tip.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Star Trek

  • Shakedown Shenanigans: More like "Screw the Rules, I Have Booze!" Offscreen Eleya apparently bribed the 40 Eridani shipyard's fueling manager with a case of springwine to ensure that the Bajor was fully fueled before leaving drydock.

Welcome to Night Vale

When They Cry

  • Redaction of the Golden Witch: This is how the 1996 group is able to reach Rokkenjima Island, despite how it's officially strictly off-limits. Cass is eventually able to find and bribe the pilot of a surveyor plane into taking them there. She avoids saying just how much it took.


  • Numerous examples lampshading the trope across Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, as early as the first episode — where Seto Kaiba pronounces the Trope Namer, although the line is a bit of a Non Sequitur since it's not clear how having money allows you to cheat in a children's card game.
    • Also in the same episode:
      Kaiba: I'm going to hire some thugs to kidnap you now. I'm a billionaire, so nobody will even think of pressing charges.
    • In the abridged equivalent of the mentioned "Waking the Dragons" episode, the check Kaiba wrote instead reads, "All of Joey Wheeler's money". Even the rules of money are not safe from Kaiba's screwing.
    • And from the YGOTAS flashback episode:
    • Kaiba also uses this trope when he narrates over a flashback of his days in an orphanage:
      Kaiba: It was a very depressing time in my life, since I didn't have any money, so I was unable to screw the rules.
    • In the second Season Zero Abridged episode, it becomes subverted:
      Kaiba: Actually, there are several situations in which summoning multiple monsters at once can be considered totally legal in this game.
      Yami: That...that wasn't very funny.
      Kaiba: Why would it be funny? I'm just trying to explain how to play.
    • And apparently, Seto actually got it from his adoptive father.
      Gozaburo: Screw the rules, Seto, I have your money!
    • Pegasus is also proficient at this, even if it's not as memey as Kaiba's.
      Yugi [after Pegasus bribes him to a tournament with his grandpa's soul] It's too bad rich megalomaniacs are immune from the law; otherwise, we could just call the police.
    • In his duel with Alister, Kaiba finally manages to push this to its breaking point.
      Alister: Wait a moment, did you just fuse a trap card with a monster?
      Kaiba: Yeah, so?
      Alister: That's against the rules, isn't it?
      Kaiba: Screw the rules, I have a DOOM VIRUS DRAGON! (awkward cough in the audience) Oh shoot, did I just kill that joke?
    • Then Dartz puts his own...unique spin on it (after summoning a bunch of monsters in one turn no less):
      Dartz: Scwew the weuwules, I have the Shiibaldahhhbaladoobalabadah!
      Kaiba: ...The hell did he just say?
      Yami: I don't know, but they're gonna make a shirt of it!


  • A Running Gag in The Disney Loops is of various Disney Loopers visiting other Loops and solving issues by buying them out, the biggest one so far being Scrooge McDuck buying out the entire Clone Wars, complete with the combatants, and then evicting both Sidious and the Separatist Council.
  • This piece of Fan Art, based on this Glee Fan Fic, mentions this trope by name. (It's also hilarious, if you have read the fic.)
  • In Hivefled, this is Rose's method for preventing people from noticing the poorly-concealed trolls. "Here is some money. Is this enough to forestall further questions?"
  • The Scottish Empire in A Scotsman in Egypt simply bought off each new Pope, allowing their decidedly un-Catholic rampages against the other Christian powers to go completely unpunished, even going so far as to dump bags of gold on the new Pope's desk without even a Mea Culpa.
  • A Starstruck Phantasmic Romance: When a mall guard stops Dash and Paulina from bothering Starfire and Team Phantom, Paulina threatens to have her father buy the mall and fire the guard. The guard laughs it off.
  • You Got HaruhiRolled! parodies Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series on two separate occasions. The first time, Tsuruya says the line verbatim. The second time, she tries to do so, but Yuki tells her It's Been Done.

    Films — Animation 
  • Discussed in Aladdin — Jafar, disguised as an old man, tells Aladdin about the Golden Rule — "whoever has the gold makes the rules".
  • Lampshaded at the end of Incredibles 2, when Violet comments that since Evelyn is rich, she'll most likely get a slap on the wrist as she's pushed into the back of a police car.
  • Discussed/parodied in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. After becoming incredibly wealthy from gambling in Monte Carlo, Skipper decides he's going to buy an airbus made of solid gold. Kowalski tells him that such a thing would be impossible to fly. Skipper's response? "We'll be rich, Kowalski! The laws of physics won't apply to us!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Addams Family Reunion, the family is mistakenly invited to another family's reunion, and when it looks like the eccentric billionaire grandfather is going to leave his money to the Addamses instead of his greedy relatives, the rich family reports Gomez and Morticia to a Department of Child Disservices, steals Wednesday and Pugsley away, buries Lurch alive, and has Fester thrown in an insane asylum. But luckily, the grandfather uses his power and wealth to bail Gomez and Morticia out of jail, rescue Lurch before he runs out of oxygen, and rescue Fester from the asylum, while Wednesday and Pugsley take care of their foster family themselves.
  • In Annie (2014), a few large dollar bills to the social services woman is all it takes to speed along the process for the paperwork for Annie's temporary adoption by Stacks to go through.
  • The Biff Tannen of the alternate 1985 in Back to the Future Part II killed Marty McFly's father George and then told him that they'd never convict him of murder because he "owned the police." "I own the police" is also attributed to notorious early 20th-century gangster Al Capone, thus making this Truth in Television. Ironically, Capone's money (due to tax evasion) is what brought him down. It's also strongly implied that the only way he keeps Lorraine from leaving him is by threatening to cut off financial support from her children, which would land them all in jail.
  • Bad Girls: Even though multiple witnesses would be able to confirm that Cody shot the Colonel in self-defense, and the Sheriff himself had no intent in chasing her once she left his jurisdiction, the Colonel's widow goes over his head and brings in Pinkertons for revenge. However, it's made clear most people simply didn't care that he'd shot first, as he's an "upstanding" citizen while Cody is a prostitute, and therefore guilty no matter what in their eyes.
  • Batman Begins: A more benign example than most is when Bruce Wayne bought a fancy restaurant when a staff member told him his dates couldn't play in the fountain.
  • Al Czervik's behavior in Caddyshack is tolerated only because he brings a lot of money to Bushwood Country Club.
  • Beautifully subverted in The Dark Knight Rises with John Daggett, who is funding Bane and thinks that makes him in charge.
    Daggett: I am in charge!
    Bane: [puts his hand on Daggett's shoulder] Do you feel in charge?
    Daggett: [visibly terrified] I paid you a small fortune!
    Bane: And this gives you power over me?
    [Dagget's life is over a few seconds later]
  • Cat's Eye. After Cressner goes back on his word and reveals that he has murdered his wife, he tries to buy his way out by offering an enraged and gun-toting Norris millions of dollars. Norris has a much better plan for revenge — make Cressner the same offer to walk around the ledge and gain his freedom as the one he offered him.
  • Following a violent bank robbery in Dead Presidents, one of the robbers (who is also a preacher) feels remorse for his crimes and reflects that God cannot forgive him now. He even refers to the crooks' loot as "dirty money." One of his partners tries to reassure him by saying: "Now you can buy your way into Heaven."
  • Played straight many, many times in The Distinguished Gentleman, a film about a con man turned U.S. Senator. Subverted somewhat unusually in the same film:
    Lobbyist: For instance, where are you on sugar price supports?
    Tommy: Sugar price supports. Uhh... Where do you think I should be?
    Lobbyist: Makes no difference to me. If you're for 'em, I got money for you from my sugar producers in Louisiana and Hawaii. If you're against 'em, I got money for you from the candy manufacturers.
    Tommy: You pick.
    Lobbyist: Let's put you down as for. Now what about putting limits on malpractice awards?
    Tommy: You tell me.
    Lobbyist: Well, if you're for 'em, I got money from the doctors and insurance companies. If you're against 'em, I got money from the trial lawyers. Tell you what, let's say against.
    Tommy: Terry, tell me something. With all this money coming in from both sides, how does anything ever get done?
    Lobbyist: It doesn't! That's the genius of the system!
  • A legendary behind-the-scenes example occurred during the filming of Gone with the Wind. That most famous of lines—Rhett Butler's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"—got director Victor Fleming in a lot of trouble with the Hayes Office, which controlled the "moral integrity" of films through its restrictive Hayes Code. Swearing was considered an offense worthy of a big fine, and to his credit, Fleming did have the scriptwriters come up with an alternate version: "Frankly, my dear, I just don't care." But he ultimately realized that nothing could match the punch of the original line, which, in 1939, was considered a Precision F-Strike, so he kept the "damn" in and simply paid the fee knowing that the studio could afford it. It turned out to be a good choice on his part—not only is Gone With the Wind remembered as one of the greatest movies of all time but "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" was voted the top quote in the entire history of cinema by the American Film Institute.
  • The Hour of the Pig: After he sends his Serial Killer son out of town, the Siegneur cheerfully agrees with a sarcastic comment about how separate laws apply to the rich.
  • Eun-yi of The Housemaid (2010) has the mother of her employer try to kill her via an engineered accident and receives a check in the hospital in repayment for her accident. In the hospital, Miss Cho reveals that this is not the first time that a housemaid has suffered an accident and then been given a payment to keep her quiet.
  • In Inception, the team plans to perform the inception on Robert Fisher during his frequent nine-hour flight from Australia to the States. This means that they would have to buy out the entire cabinet where Fisher is staying and somehow bribe all the flight personnel who might walk in on them during the operation. Saito reveals he had been thinking ahead:
    Saito: "I bought the airline." [bewildered looks from the team] "It seemed...neater."
    • Aside from that, this very trope is why Cobb is working for Saito. Presumably thanks to Saito's influence, he can get the murder charges Cobb has erased.
  • It's a Wonderful Life gives us Henry F. Potter, "the richest and meanest man in the county." He owns virtually every business in the small town of Bedford Falls, and most of the housing—that is, until Peter and Billy Bailey form the Bailey Building and Loan Bank to provide quality homes to the poor, cutting in on Potter's profits. It's all but stated that Potter's business practices are illegal: George mentions that, during the Depression, Potter "stole" the town's livelihood by buying up all the stock in whatever he could get his hands on from the terrified citizens. He's also not above bribery and threats, but he truly crosses the Moral Event Horizon when Billy inadvertently gives him the Building and Loan's cash supply of $8,000 before he can deposit it in the bank. Even though Potter knows that Uncle Billy is looking for the money and exactly what happened to it, he still keeps it (committing grand larceny), arranges to have George Bailey arrested for the supposed crime, and, to twist the knife further, delivers a cruel speech about George is "worth more dead than alive." It's somehow even worse in the reality where George was never born, as Potter was able to seize control of the entire town, name it after himself, and turn it into a Wretched Hive where everyone is horrifically depressed and morally bankrupt.
  • In Jumanji, Van Pelt runs out of ammo for his turn-of-the-century BFG and can't find any more at the local gun store. When he demands a replacement weapon, the owner explains that there's a waiting period and forms he needs to fill out. Van Pelt promptly drops a handful of gold coins on the counter, and before you can say Jack Robinson, he has a brand-new, super-advanced, military-grade BFG in his hands.
  • In Kick-Ass 2, The Motherfucker declares that this is his superpower. While he's grossly incompetent on his own, he's so rich he can hire badass psychos to do his dirty work for him.
  • In The Magic Christian Ringo Starr plays a homeless youth who is rousted out of a park for sleeping rough and is adopted by a rich man who spends the movie using wilder and wilder means to invoke this trope. Finally they just return to the park and hold up a couple of banknotes to the original warden, who allows them to continue sleeping.
  • Bribery is a large part of MacNamara's modus operandi throughout One, Two, Three, which e. g. enables him to have Otto's and Scarlett's wedding papers removed from the East Berlin registry office and later returned and to get Count von Droste-Schattenburg to adopt Otto Piffl. Luckily for him, the Communists don't ask for that much and he can force Otto to vouch for part of the expenses.
  • Implied in Pretty in Pink. The heroine is poor and looked down on, and when she sticks up for a friend being teased by a rich girl, she gets sent to the Principal's office. There she explains that every once in a while she gets annoyed with the system, while he blithely brushes her off with 'If you send the message you don't want to fit in, you won't.' She promptly calls him out and says sarcastically 'That's a wonderful thought'.
  • In the end scene of RoboCop 2, Omni Consumer Products management mentions putting the blame on someone else, bribing witnesses, etc.
  • In Schindler's List, Oskar Schindler is a rare heroic example: he bribes Nazi officials left and right in order to save his Jewish workers and their families from the death camps. Also, earlier in the film, he is shown obtaining luxury items for himself through the black market.
  • The end scene of Small Soldiers is most likely a parody of this. Stuart (the father of the protagonist) tells the CEO of the company that made the titular soldiers that money cannot possibly compensate for the trauma they've been put through. Turns out it can, and he does several times just to prove the point.
  • Spaceballs:
    [being shot at by Spaceballs]
    Vespa: Hey, I don't have to put up with this... I'm rich!
  • Subverted in Titanic (1997) when Cal Hockley attempts to buy his way into a lifeboat, only to have the money thrown back in his face just before the officer he gave it to commits suicide.
  • In TRON: Legacy, since Sam is Kevin's son and owns a controlling interest in Encom stock, he can get away with a lot of legally questionable actions. For example, after breaking into Encom headquarters, stealing its intellectual property, and freely distributing it across the internet, Sam is merely punished with a couple hours in jail and getting his bike impounded. Plus, it's implied that this isn't the first time it's happened.
  • In Vice (2015), Julian Michaels avoids the law by having such a lucrative business that he provides half of the city's tax revenue by the massive size of his profits.
  • The entire plot of Wall Street seems to play off this trope, specifically when Gordon Gekko tells Bud Fox to do some things for him which would violate trade laws.
  • This trope is zig-zagged in The Wolf of Wall Street. On the one hand, Jordan Belfort's able to get out of various crimes due to his wealth, including insider trading, damages caused by his wild partying, sexual assault, flagrant drug use, and operating a car while in a "cerebral palsy" state due to overdosing on Quaaludes. On the other hand, his attempts to bribe the FBI agent investigating him fall flat, and his attempts to subvert the system (he wears a wire on his partners in return for a shorter sentence but attempts to inform them of it), wind up busting him even further and sending him to prison. But then it turns out the prison he's going to is a minimum-security, white-collar prison designed for people of his wealth, and he's out in three years, promptly going back to a life of making money (albeit less so than before). It's up to the viewer if the experiences of the film made him really repent, or if he's still the same selfish monster and only became a functioning addict and isn't attracting Federal heat anymore.

  • The 39 Clues has oh-so-many examples, but the biggest would have to be Isabel Kabra and her kids (although they aren't HALF as bad as Isabel).
  • In The Acts of Caine, in ascending order of greedy bastardry: the Business caste, the Leisureman caste, and the Board of Governors.
  • The Appeal by John Grisham: The main stockholder for an NYC chemical plant is looking to reverse a $41 million judgement. The head of a shadowy Florida firm tells him he can buy a seat on the bench of the state Supreme Court for a cool $8 million, only $1 million of which is actually recorded. Let the chess match begin.
  • Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days had a habit of throwing large volumes of money at his problems, at one point going so far as to hijack a ship and then buy it (it had no cargo) from its owner en route to Ireland. The original owner got the iron hull and the engine back in the end — that is, by far the majority of the valuable parts of the vessel; the wooden superstructure (cannibalized for fuel) would cost a comparative pittance to replace.
    • Fogg had bet half his fortune on the outcome of the race, in full expectation that it would cost the other half to win. But it was the principle that counted.
  • Artemis Fowl: the title character is a Teen Genius with his entire family's fortune at his disposal.
    • To wit: "We have two options; legal, and illegal [...] Illegal is faster."
  • Played with in Atlas Shrugged. Inverted in that the strikers are punished because they make money; subverted when Hank's Rearden's money fails to protect him during his divorce trial; played straight when Rearden is allowed to buy resources and sell his products how he wishes, despite legally binding orders to the contrary.
  • Bazil Broketail: Or rather, Screw The Rules, I Want To Make More Money. When Relkin warns him that his actions — imprisoning sentient beings and selling them as slaves — are against the law, Dook flat-out retorts that he does not care about any damn laws.
  • Another boarding school example is Vernon-Smith of Greyfriars in Billy Bunter, who gained a place in the school because the headmaster was in debt to Smithy's Nouveau Riche father. Knowing the head was powerless to expel him, Smithy proceeded to screw the rules with reckless abandon (his first act upon joining the school is to turn up drunk), amply earning his nickname 'the Bounder'.
  • Burke: A recurring trope in these books by Andrew Vachss. A few times, it is noted that real wealth can persuade the otherwise-ineffectual police to get off their arses and be serious about their work, to the detriment of Burke's not-quite-legal Badass Crew.
  • Carrie: Chris Hargensen's father is a rich Amoral Attorney who regularly employs Loophole Abuse to ensure she never faces the consequences of her bullying actions. He got her into Oberlin despite her poor grades, and when she's banned from attending the prom for taunting Carrie over her first period in the shower, he threatens to sue the school unless they let Chris attend; he's forced to back off when the principal shows him Chris' long record of violations, declaring that they could easily have Chris locked up for them.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: Let's face it. Edmond Dantes, Determinator or not, wouldn't have gotten far into his elaborate schemes for revenge without his eleventy billion francs. He bribed a pope. Truth in Television for Pope Alexander VI (a Borgia in his family life), but it didn't come cheap.
  • Played straight almost all the way through F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, where the family that owns the diamond can get away with anything, including keeping slavery going in their home that's not on any map. But when it all falls apart, the father's mental collapse is shown by him offering a bribe to God to make it miraculously not have happened.
  • The Death of Russia: When the National Salvation Front overthrows Boris Yeltsin's government, his Deputy Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar flees to Kaliningrad to establish a Government in Exile. When the local government and military officials, including the Baltic Fleet, ask why they should support him instead of handing him over to the NSF, he presents them with three briefcases full of cash; while an exact amount is never mentioned, it's enough to give him a secure power base for the rest of the war.
  • The Exile's Violin: When Clay encounters an obstacle to Jacquie's investigation, he pays it "an exorbitant amount of money" to convince it to get out of her way.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Christian Grey has this mindset. Buying the publishing house where his then-ex Ana works, bribing a senator to ensure a crate gets shipped to Darfur, involuntarily committing an unstable former submissive and buying Elena Lincoln's ex-husband's business for the sole purpose of bankrupting him as revenge certainly count, especially since most of these would have either not been possible or would have gotten him thrown in jail in the real world.
  • Pretty much the entire Langley family in Fort Hope operates by this principle. The police in town seem a bit afraid of the family.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke is allowed to violate so many laws it's not even funny while attending school. He points loaded guns at people (and sometimes even shoots at them), places landmines and bombs everywhere, destroys people's private property without remorse, makes threats filled with killer intent... all of this is ignored by the head of the school. Why? Because Mithril makes HUGE donations to her for allowing Sousuke to attend school.
  • In the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization, it's revealed that Apex Cybernetics were responsible for building the Oxygen Destroyer prototype which enabled King Ghidorah's Near-Villain Victory and they bribed their way out of accountability for this.
  • The eponymous character of The Great Gatsby earns his fortune for the sole reason to get with Daisy. He thinks that he could reverse five years just because.
  • Julia Evans, the young billionairess in the "Greg Mandell" sci-fi series by Peter F. Hamilton. Granted, she lives in a world virtually owned by multinationals, but even a Corrupt Corporate Executive she has a grudge against is shocked when she buys the controlling interest in a Swiss bank in order to expose his scheme to steal from her corporation.
  • Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter weaseled out of many problems thanks to his wealth and social position. Fortunately, by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, his wealth couldn't get him out of staying in Azkaban until there was a second mass breakout due to the defection of the Dementors. This comes from the fact that he was caught red-handed in the middle of the Department of Mysteries in the company of other Death Eaters.
  • In the universe of House of the Scorpion, clones by law have to be made brain dead. El Patron, however, has enough power and influence that he can ignore this law and make fully functional ones.
  • Flinx, of the Humanx Commonwealth series, is an Anti-Hero user of this trope, thanks to having some Sufficiently Advanced Aliens rig his bank account (as a favor). He mainly uses it to bribe his way around the Commonwealth, but loses some of that advantage after coming to the attention of the peaceforcers on Terra in Reunion. It's also subverted in Flinx Transcendent, where passing counterfeit AAnn currency on Blasusarr is what blows his cover.
  • Herman di Portola Bliss of the mystery novel Impossible Bliss is highly eccentric and more obnoxious. Though he's been arrested numerous times in his Santa Barbara hometown, he's never faced charges in court, because he's the last scion of the family that founded (and still owns much of) the town.
  • The Secret World of James Bond 007, a companion book for the James Bond film series, invokes this in the From Russia with Love entry. In that film, Bond carried a gadget briefcase whose contents included "two plastic straps carrying 25 gold sovereigns. Useful for unforeseen expenses... or for bribing one's way out of trouble."
  • In The Migax Cycle, Summer doesn't even try to sue Sylas for damages to her apartment, because she knows he'll be able to pay his way out of it. Also, Mililabs gets away with luring people into exploitive contracts and doing horrible experiments on them due to their huge lobbying power.
  • Done in Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn. The infiltrating alien enemy is convinced that its relocation to a new homeworld has gone undiscovered because there is only one interstellar Quadrail station in the Yandro system and it has it continuously under surveillance. However, the protagonist blackmails Larry Hardin, the richest man on Earth, into paying a trillion dollars to build another Quadrail station on the other side of the system.
  • The Occupation Saga: It's possible to pay an exorbitant fee to buy out the remainder of one's enlistment contract in the Shil'vati military, a holdover from the days where nobles could pay their lieges enough to hire mercenaries rather than go to battle themselves. Jason does exactly that at the end of volume 3 rather than either go to the Space Cadet Academy or join the Imperial Princess's general staff, using the royalties from the mouse he patented.
  • Used in one of the books in The Once and Future King series. Mordred argues with Arthur that their judicial system - two champions jousting, on behalf of the defendant and prosecution - was unfair since it was more of a battle of muscles. Arthur pointed out that the law allowed for each party to hire whomever they liked to be their champion and pointed out that if they switched to using lawyers, it would just be the same (each party could hire whichever lawyer they thought would best save their bacon). He finishes by pointing out that in the judicial system, whoever has the most money will most likely win.
  • Subverted in Robert Aspirin's Phule's Company books; and one of the few examples of the trope being consistently employed effectively on the side of good. Most of the time, it's the titular Williard Phule, aka Captain Jester, using his vast wealth to foil Obstructive Bureaucrats who have the letter, if not the spirit, of the law on their side.
  • In Predator's Gold, Tom gets annoyed at the Huntsmen of Arkangel when they offer cash rewards for tips on the locations of cities they can hunt, believing that their wealth interferes with the 'purity' of Municipal Darwinism.
  • The rich students in The Secret History attempt to use their money to get rid of all potential problems. It runs out and they have to kill Bunny anyway.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The Vigilantes, especially Myra Rutledge and Countess Anne de Silva, need the money they have to accomplish their missions and with style. Prosecutor Jack Emery in Weekend Warriors did express hatred for how rich people think they're above the law, and brings that up in Free Fall. He does have a point, considering how a number of bad guys have money at their side and have used it to keep themselves protected.
  • Something More Than Night: Ward Home Junior gets away with a lot over the course of the novel because his dad is a wealthy oil baron who can pay to make any problems go away, one way or another.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire features this trope in both spades and shades.
    • House Lannisters (each branch thereof) firmly believes that throwing money at a problem will certainly either fix it or, at the very least, shut it up. But, those who throw good money after bad (like Tywin's father or Cersei tried) find this not to be true. Most spend their money and monitor it working for them. It mostly works out. Unless they're dealing with Honor Before Reason. That's what murder solves, instead.
    • The Iron Bank of Braavos: don't piss them off. They can outspend you. They can tank your economy. They can foreclose on your entire neighbourhood if they don't end you for them.
    • The Freys subvert this hard — they have money to burn and certainly use it. But... there are some rules no amount of gold can save you from breaking. Style matters.
  • Flashman in Tom Brown's Schooldays, though eventually his behavior was too out of control for even his family connections to save him.
  • Lady Schrapnell, the Upper-Class Twit funding projects for Oxford's time travel department in To Say Nothing of the Dog, puts the staff through a lot of abuse, which they only put up with because they really need those funds. One of her mantras is "rules are meant to be broken", which the department heads keep fruitlessly trying to explain to her doesn't work for the laws of physics.
  • In Trigger Warning, Jake manages to avoid being kicked out of Kelton College because of his billionaire grandfather, who is a major donor to the school. His grandfather also keeps Jake out of legal trouble by paying off the lawyers who attempt to file cases against him.
  • The vampires in Unique literally invented this trope. After centuries of living as what amounts to murderous nocturnal bandits, they learned in the Age of Discovery that they could pay humans for well-guarded rooms to sleep in—or to take their money and do things with it to make even more money. They became significant shareholders in the assorted East India companies, and eventually invented modern corporate culture. Getting the law to regard corporations as legal citizens was one of their favorite jokes, in fact—a soulless, insatiably demanding entity with the rights of a human being? They were guffawing about that one for years...
  • Viceroy's Pride: With a dash of Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!; in book 2, Henry Ibis basically kidnaps a bunch of minor celebrities for his new army. When everyone points out that he can't do that, no matter what he snuck into their contracts, he notes that he talked to the judges who would enforce the contracts before he pulled this stunt. They all agreed to back his play.
  • In Jessica Martinez's Virtuosity, violinist Carmen's mother bribes the judges of a violin competition not to let her only worthy opponent through.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, there is a planet, Jackson's Whole, where any and all rules of the rest of the galaxy will be ignored for the right sum.
    "An arrest order has been purchased for you. It charges you with the murder of Sydney Liga. Do you wish to outbid?"
    • Unless it personally offends one of the ruling oligarchs to the point where he'd rather take it out of your hide even if doing so hurts his profits, whereupon no amount of money can save you. Then again, those oligarchs rule precisely because they're the richest and most unscrupulous bastards in town...
  • In the Dale Brown novel Warrior Class, Big Bad Pavel Kazakov makes regular use of bribes when getting his oil pipeline built and has codified a system for doing so in his dealings.
  • Venality is a major theme of Water Margin, which portrays greased palms as a way of life in the Song Dynasty. It's so commonplace that officials are routinely "tipped" just for doing their jobs right—presumably there's always a way to screw you over if you're stingy. When someone well-liked goes to prison, communities will pass the hat because if the guards aren't paid enough there are beatings and worse in store. You can't even reliably identify the "good guys" as the ones who can't be bribed, which contributes to the Black-and-Gray Morality of the story. It makes the rare Bribe Backfire very satisfying.
  • In the Indian novel The White Tiger: Depressingly enough, the perpetual bribery that goes on between the rich of India and the government.
  • Subverted in The Witcher, when Geralt desperately needs to get into a house guarded by a bully.
    Geralt: They say money open all doors. (produces a nice pouch of gold)
    Bully: I cannot be bribed.
    Geralt: I'm not going to. (knocks him out with the pouch)
  • In the Zachary Nixon Johnson series, the incredibly wealthy Ona Thompson believes her fortune makes her exempt from having to obey the law.
    Ona: I still have to obey these silly New Frisco laws?
    Zach: Well, yes.
    Ona: But I'm really, really rich!
  • The 120 Days of Sodom: The depraved Duke de Blangis openly boasts that his money and power will ensure he will never face justice for his numerous crimes. He's correct.
    "Thus, nothing but the law stands in my way, but I defy the law, my gold and my prestige keep me well beyond reach of those vulgar instruments of repression which should be employed only upon the common sort."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted with Jonas Hodges of season 7 of 24. As the wealthy head of a government contract army, it is assumed he's doing what he's doing to ensure his company gets contracts. It's revealed that he actually feels he's providing a service and protecting the country. The money is actually the last thing on his mind.
  • A rare positive version of the trope appears in All That and the "Earboy" sketches. Earboy frequently sought the help of his Eccentric Mentor H. Ross Perot (played by Katrina Johnson), a real-life political figure and businessman. Perot was a Cloud Cuckoolander to the extreme, frequently doing bizarre things like pinning fried chicken legs to the wall with arrows or studying "Kung Pao Weenie," a form of martial arts based on hot dogs. Whenever Earboy or another character asked why, Perot inevitably responded "I got four BILLION dollars!", which gave him carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. Unlike most examples, though, Perot was perfectly happy to share his fortune to help Earboy in his quest to become popular.
  • On Angel, the law firm Wolfram and Hart (it's actually more of a Mega-Corp) existed essentially to help its clients screw the rules as much as they could afford. A good example of this came from Russel Winters, who used Wolfram and Hart to help him get around rules both legal, such as "don't eat young women", and supernatural, such as being unable to enter homes without an invitation. He simply owned the building. As CEO, Angel offhandedly remarks that they kinda, sorta... "own" the police.
  • Arrested Development:
    • Much of the series centers around the Bluth family learning to (read: not being able to) deal with the fact that they can no longer screw the rules now that they have no money.
    • Played straight when George Bluth finds and bribes some prison guards to sneak him out of jail and fake his death; this is referred to as "a loophole in the Mexican judicial system".
  • Stephanie Forrester from The Bold and the Beautiful. She has gotten away with accomplice to rape, harbouring a fugitive, and accomplice-after-the-fact to murder. Among other things.
  • Averted on Bones with Jack Hodgins, who's the owner of a company that owns practically the whole Jeffersonian and a lot of other stuff, but he doesn't put himself above the rules. Also a Screw the Money, I Have Rules!.
  • Happened pretty frequently on Boston Legal.
  • Daniel Post uses his wealth to corrupt cancer studies and buy human organs in order to try to cure his own lung cancer.
  • Castle gives us the rare heroic version in the person of Rick Castle himself. He's very rich, very famous, and shows absolutely no hesitation when it comes to using those things to help his cop friends get through roadblocks he finds annoying (for example, calling the Mayor to complain to get a forensic test moved up the priority list).
    • Guess who has a date with a prostituuuute!
    • They also used a straight example once, with an obscenely rich matriarch of a wealthy family of Kennedy expies - Castle himself pointed out that while he was rich, his money went into banks, while her money bought banks. So rich was she that one of her employees was a 'fixer' who arranged for the cold-blooded killing of a woman who was the daughter to one of her sons, had an innocent man sent to jail in his place, and eventually not only had the man killed in prison but personally killed a bike messenger who was delivering evidence to the cops to clear the man's name. And all the while, she was more concerned about a missing ring that said fixer had stolen to help pay off the man in jail. Her relatives, thankfully, are nowhere near that bad.
    • Subverted in an episode where Castle tells a Homeland Security guy that he has the Governor of New York on speed dial and threatens to call him. Later, the Fed tells Castle that he's spoken with the Governor, and the guy has never heard of Rick Castle (which is strange, given that Castle is a best-selling author).
  • Control Z: Javier is expelled from his former high school as he was responsible for the death of one of his football teammates who fell off a balcony to his death during a rite of passage. However, his wealthy father pulled some strings to cover up his son's crime by bribing the others out of denouncing him to the police. Thus, this is the reason why Javier enrolled late at Colegio Nacional in the first place. He even threatened to sue the latter school after Javier was wrongfully accused of being the hacker. Initially.
  • Cop Rock: the upper-class people arrested for using narcotics sing that they should be ignored since they pay high taxes. Cop Rock - Don't Mess With My Pursuit of Happiness.
  • CSI has Catherine's dad, Sam Braun, who flirts with this trope a lot, rather typical for a casino magnate in TV-land. In one episode, he gets away with murder because he only ordered the murder and didn't actually do anything to convict himself. He's also not afraid to stick it to other casino guys from time to time, although not actually ordering any of them killed.
  • Degrassi gives us Peter Stone, a rich bastard who films Drunk!Manny stripping and makes it into a meme, but still dates her best friend Emma. In the next season, Emma's ex-boyfriend Sean, who is the school's hero after saving them all from a shooting, comes back, and Peter plants drugs in his locker. Then Peter and Sean start racing, and Peter goes to jail. His mother was the principal.
  • Deputy: In "10-8 Entanglements" a group of thieves turn out to be bored rich kids who steal just as a game, competing with each other. They believe their wealth is going to shield them from any consequences, but are caught after one commits attempted murder when he gets his identity found out by a victim (his neighbor).
  • Firefly: Simon manages to do both at the same time. He gives up his fortune to save River, thereby saying Screw the Money, I Have Rules!. He also uses his money to rescue River in defiance of the law.
  • Chi Soo from Flower Boy Ramyun Shop lives by this trope and tries to do anything he likes. He goes into a melodramatic breakdown when he's told by his dad he can't drive his car to school anymore.
  • Game of Thrones: Every House in the Westerlands, as virtually all the gold mines in Westeros are here, making these Houses obscenely rich, especially the Great House, House Lannister. This is implied to be a philosophy of Tywin Lannister's in particular, and also Tyrion Lannister's. Like father, like son. Tyrion's go-to solution in problematic situations is to attempt to buy his way out. However, his particular skill is offering money in a charismatic and audacious way, which allows him to win the loyalty of those he pays off. Even the lower Westerlands Houses can get in on this considering the Lannister fortunes have enriched almost every noble house of the region. However, it can and has backfired spectacularly when the target decides that they're insulted by the idea of being bought by some rich snot. Come Season 4 though, they're running on the idea that they're still rich...
  • On Game Shakers, nutty rapper Double-G gets away with a lot of stuff due to being a famous rich music star.
    • One episode has Double-G upset over a bad statue of himself in the subway. Bey sees him smash it apart and goes crazy about how Double-G is sure he's going to escape it. She finally blurts it to the cops only to have them let Double-G off with a warning because of his celebrity status...while Bey is under arrest for failing to report and being an accessory. Bey actually says she's okay with it as she wants to show respect and how the law doesn't play favorites. At which point, Double-G gives the cops two front-row tickets for his concert to let her go and Bey just throws up her hands.
  • One of the first examples on TV was probably Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island. He kept trying to constantly bribe the rather gullible Gilligan into doing things for him. It doesn't work.
  • Becomes a plot point in Gossip Girl where Dan automatically assumes everyone on the UES has this attitude, which causes problems in his relationship with Serena. Has been played straight, or at least been attempted to, on a few occasions, yet not nearly as often as one might expect.
  • Edward Vogler in Season 1 of House starts running the hospital like an Evil Overlord, making calls about things like a dying cancer patient getting a C-Section, purely because he can threaten to withdraw a 100 million dollar donation if everybody doesn't say "How high?" whenever he says "Jump!"
    • Eventually subverted when he begins attempting to pick off board members who stand up to him; the rest of the board finally says, effectively, "Screw your money, we're going home."
    • Much later in the series, a wealthy man demands that House be the one that treats his son (as it turns out, House had his license revoked), but they go along with this anyway. Eventually, when even House can't figure out how to save his son, the man acknowledges that he's been practicing this trope all his life and blames the fact that his wife is dead and his son dying on "the karma", and tries to reverse it by giving up his entire fortune. The kid does get better...but the idiot still lost almost everything.
      • What makes it worse is that he was specifically told that dissolving his company would make hundreds of workers redundant...and he did it anyway, which if anything would make karma even more pissed at him.
  • iCarly: The Petographers in "iMove Out" get away with trashing the iCarly studio because they have bribed Officer Carl by taking free pictures of his daughter's pet bunny rabbit. Officer Carl even proceeds to give the trio a fine, because their half-car prop stuck into the studio wall doesn't have a license plate.
  • Law & Order often has these characters as defendants, as they usually hire the best lawyers; a Recurring Character named Arthur Gold putting in an appearance is a dead giveaway. If anyone's likely to get away with murder on these shows, it's them.
    • Gold seems to have been replaced as the go-to shyster by SVU's Lionel Granger.
  • The whole premise of Leverage is to use means of dubious legality to fight such types and help the "little guys" who got screwed:
    Nate Ford: (intro) The rich and powerful, they take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide... leverage.
  • Subverted in Monk with Dale "The Whale" J. Biederbeck III. Although he does have control over various people's actions as well as being filthy rich, the primary reason why he gets away with any crime is that they think he couldn't possibly do it because, as his nickname implies, he is so fat that he can't even get out of his bed, never mind out of his door. Monk proves them wrong, and he is arrested via a crane.
  • This is basically the attitude of the rich family in the NCIS: New Orleans episode "A House Divided" when one of them — a Navy lieutenant — falls down the stairs to his death. The matriarch and her lawyer stonewall Pride's investigation and are implied to have bribed at least one official to help Make It Look Like an Accident, even though Loretta has already found crucial evidence that the lieutenant was drugged, making this a homicide investigation. It's then revealed that the family was involved in smuggling counterfeit money and the lieutenant wanted to do the right thing and shut them down, so his mother drugged him to slow him down — and while he was drugged, he fell down the stairs, making her legally responsible for his death.
  • On NewsRadio, Jimmy James is a likable guy in some respects, but he frustrates Dave to no end because he can make up any rules and do anything he wants with his unlimited wallet. He secretly bought a newspaper and published a negative review in it just to motivate his staff; he plays around with the bonuses in one episode; and he's motivated more by a sadistic sense of fun rather than bottom-line profit in terms of whether to give Matthew his job back.
  • In a mid-season one episode of Person of Interest, Finch gets a doctor to treat his critically injured partner without reporting the gunshot wound as required by law by handing over a bag with six or seven figures worth of cash in it. He also routinely uses his vast fortune to get Reese the access he needs for his investigations.
  • Raising the Bar has Richard Woolsley, a public defence attorney from an extremely wealthy family who tries to invoke this trope for the good of his clients. Subverted when his boss makes him understand why he cannot and asks him to follow the rules. Invoked heroically yet again when he uses his money to set up a civil law division so his clients can have access to appropriate legal support after their criminal cases.
  • The Graysons in Revenge (2011) seem to live on this trope. Watching their every attempt to invoke this blow up in their faces is... satisfying.
  • The usual crew in Saved by the Bell had a fantasy of if they were to strike oil in the Pipe Dreams episode, how incredibly rich the school would be. Zack, to the teacher who reminded them about the test that day and that it was a rule says, "We have money, so there are no rules!" Being born in '86 and watching SBTB growing up, Zack was the only one I saw with a mobile phone in the '90s AND I think his dad was a lawyer...I always thought it was a big plothole in that Zack was obsessed with becoming rich!
  • The Ferengi in Star Trek have money and greed as their hat. Interestingly, they aren't following the exact definition of this trope, as the rules of the Ferengi Alliance allow for bribery. So it's closer to "According to the rules, I can do whatever I want, here's my money."
  • London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody seems to think that rich people are above the law. One of her fellow airheaded rich friends responds to a saying her dad said ("There's two things rich people never do: Apologize and pay taxes") with this:
    Friend: My daddy said the same thing... the last time I visited him in prison.

    Multiple Media 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Good guy version in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Transit. The Doctor encounters an AI who has kept quiet about its emergent intelligence because of what humans would do to it, and gives it the advice "The Golden Rule is that those who have the gold, make the rules". Taking this on board, the AI buys property, hires a lawyer, and then announces its sentience.
    • "The Lodger": In a downplayed example, the Doctor manages to secure his place as Craig's flatmate with a paper bag with £3000. It is entirely possible that the Doctor didn't actually know how much money he withdrew (probably by sonicking the ATM) and put in the bag.
    • "Arachnids in the UK": Corrupt Corporate Executive Jack Robertson attempts to bribe the Doctor, her companions Ryan, Graham, and Yaz, Yaz's mum Najia, and scientist Jade McIntyre with enough money that they'll never have to work again so they don't reveal evidence of his shoddy business practices, but Najia shoots back that she likes working.

  • I got 50 Mil, I can do whatever I want. - Kevin Federline.
  • 'My father often told me that money would set me free / If I would murder that dear little girl whose name was Rose Connelly' - Down in the Willow Garden, Murder Ballad
  • Evillious Chronicles: The entirety of "Judgement of Corruption" has the titular judge, Gallerian Marlon, exonerating criminals if they pay him enough. Though... that didn't end well.

  • Solvin from The Fallen Gods lives by one rule: "fuck you, pay me". Though he does exhibit other morals along the way and tells Janna that he hates slavers more than he likes money.
  • Actively defied in the "Down on Moonshine Holler" segments of The Thrilling Adventure Hour. In these episodes, millionaire Jasper Manorlodge renounced his riches and took up the identity of hobo Banjo Bindlestuff to seek out the Hobo Princess he fell in Love at First Sight with. Once an Episode, he and his hobo mentor Gummy encounter situations that Banjo, if he were to access his wealth, could resolve quickly at the cost of sabotaging his chances of finding the Hobo Princess. Since he genuinely wishes to help, this often makes Banjo use his ingenuity to figure out how to solve the situation "The Hobo Way."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This was WWF wrestler "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's whole character, right down to attempting to buy the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hulk Hogan for one million dollars when he couldn't win it in a match (no matter how much he cheated) and then using the money to hire André the Giant to get it for him when Hulk refused to sell. Once that failed, he simply made his own championship belt. With diamonds. And blackjack. And hookers. OK, maybe not blackjack. His Catchphrase was, "Everybody's got a price!"
  • Truth Martini is known for paying wrestlers announced to appear on Ring of Honor cards not to wrestle, so members of The House Of Truth can get more matches in their place.
  • Tangentially related: In season 3 of TWF, Bucks Gazillion used these types of tactics to win the title and then took over the Sinistras. Season 4 has every match ending with Bucks playing some dirty trick to help the Sinistra defeat the Dextera.
  • When EVOLVE started out, it was intent on defying as many pro wrestling stereotypes and cliches as it could, handing harsh fines and suspensions on cheats who would not comply. Enter Larry Dallas of The Scene, a Casanova "manager" whose wealth made him nigh impossible for EVOLVE officials to control.
  • Ethan Carter III's act in TNA was to be the "rich nephew" of the company's owner. He thus carried on as if no one could touch him because of his wealth. The best example would be when he and his cronies refuse to leave an arena and police are called in to escort them out. ECIII arrogantly starts tossing money at them only for them to tackle him down and arrest him.
  • In REINA, "The World Famous" Kana used a combination of bribes and abuse of her "power" as the promotion's consultant to win half of the tag team titles, the World title and declare herself the new "General Producer".
  • As a manager in Ring of Honor, Veda Scott would pay off wrestlers so one of her charges could take the match instead. Her character was an Amoral Attorney, so that should be expected.

  • In Cabin Pressure, since Mr. Birling is an eccentric billionaire who gives extravagant tips, the employees of MJN Air allow him to do whatever he wants, from insulting them all to their faces to entering the flight deck in violation of anti-terrorism laws. Martin, the captain, initially resists this during his first flight with Birling on the grounds of Screw the Money, I Have Rules! but changes his mind when he discovers just how big Birling's tips are.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Blood Bowl:
    • The game is so inured with this trope that the referees' guild has guidelines for when and how one can accept a bribe for looking the other way, as well as union-regulated standards for the going rate of a bribe. Clubs (with the exception of goblins) are not allowed to offer less than the going rate.
    • According to the fluff, high elf teams, who are made up entirely of moneyed high elf nobles, frequently bribe opposing team players to play poorly.
  • Legend of the Five Rings:
    • This is the Yasuki family of the Crab Clan in a nutshell: they're a family of merchants in a setting that views commerce in the same vein as blackmail, prostitution, and gambling. Yet, everyone still does business with them, because they know how to get what people want and they have access to a lot of money.
    • The Yoritomo Courtiers of the Mantis Clan also hold this point of view... and if you disagree, they'll break your kneecaps.
  • The Syndicate in Mage: The Ascension. One memorable description of vulgar (i.e. obviously magical) Syndicate magic, found on rpgnet courtesy of a Mr. "Random Nerd":
    "Okay, and then I use my carefully cultivated financial contacts to... uh... you know what? Fuck it. Hey, you there, fire hydrant. If you turn into a flamethrower, I will give you two hundred dollars."
  • The Planescape campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons introduced the Merkhants, a sect with this outlook. The Merkhants were an organization of wealthy people who believed that the secret to understanding the universe was to own enough material wealth to buy its secrets. They believed that everything had a price and that if there were things that couldn't be bought, such things weren't worth owning. Player Characters could join this group, so long as they were incredibly wealthy and had a non-Good alignment (because acquiring wealth for its own sake, while not necessarily Evil, is not considered a Good act).
  • Shadowrun basically has this built into its setting: The very first thing said about life in the Sixth World in the 5th edition rulebook is "Everything has a Price". If it exists, cash can be used to get it. In-Universe, part of the setting's dystopia came about thanks to a pair of Supreme Court decisions that created the concept of Corporate Extraterratoriality. To make a long story short: If your Mega-Corp is big enough, you are your own nation. This has essentially dismantled the concept of the 20th-century nation-state, with the surviving governments being at best second-tier to moneyed interests that make Standard Oil look like some five-year-old kid's sidewalk lemonade stand.
  • The Entrepreneur specialization in Fantasy Flight's Star Wars: Roleplaying Game is all about this. Not only bribing others to upgrade social checks, but spending credits to ignore the Strain penalties caused by Obligation, and automatically pass knowledge rolls.
  • In Unknown Armies, plutomancers can utilize money to bend the rules of anything, including forcing people to shoot themselves, summoning any object, and dictating global economies.
    • The rules have some unusual skills, where a skill represents any available means of getting things done. One skill the core book suggests is for a percentage chance a rich relative bails you out at opportune moments. Now, according to the rules, you can screw the rules, 'cause your uncle has money!
    • And there's Axel Able. Fails to ascend to the Invisible Clergy, but screw that, he's going to control the Occult Underground because he has money.
  • In Warhammer, the Ogre Kingdoms special character Greasus Gooldtooth has three special rules dedicated to just how much money he has. These include one that has nearby friendly units fight all the harder in hopes of getting higher pay and one that allows him to bribe enemy units into not fighting for a turn.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Eldar players can buy dedicated Corsair units from Forgeworld. Walkers as Troop choices? Yep. Heavy Support and Fast Attack units as Dedicated Transports? Yes. Screw The Rules, We're Space Pirates!
    • In Rogue Trader, you're one of the titular Traders, who buys a permit written by the Emperor himself that allows him to ignore the most basic laws of the Empire of Man, leaving imperial space, setting up their own kingdoms, and trading with xenos. Traders are ungodly wealthy, with enough money to buy planets, warships, and centuries-old power armor (and to bribe their way out of any trouble they get into). Rogue Traders are even known to use Heresy to get what they want.
    • The Imperium in general runs on this. Wealthy people can get away with things that would get a normal citizen burned at the stake. This can end up biting them in the ass through either due to them mucking around with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know or an Inquisitor catching wind and deciding to make an example out of them.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse gives us Pentex, a corporate empire in league with the Wyrm, the cosmic forces of corruption. One of their less-public slogans is "The cost of the fine is always less than the cost of compliance". They're also quite willing to engage in bribery, lobbyism, and/or just hiring some guns to go take care of any pesky rules that can't take a hint.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Used by Cyrano after he refuses to apologize to the Burgundy Theater's audience for the interruption of The Clorise because The Clorise was a bad play and all the audience members are wrong because they wanted to see it. He pays Bellerose for all the entrance fees so they can give it back to the public.
  • In the Crapsack World of the Weill/Brecht opera The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny, Jimmy Mahoney is sentenced to death for the most heinous and foul crime of not paying his bar tab. Too bad he didn't have any money (nobody was willing to lend him any, either). If he'd had enough to bribe the judge, he could have gotten away with murder in cold blood, like the man who was tried just before him.
  • That Championship Season includes in its cast Corrupt Corporate Executive Phil Romano, a strip-mining mogul who buys off local policemen and politicians including Mayor George Sikowski, his high school friend and fellow state basketball championship team member, to secure cushy terms for the land lease for his mining operations. When it looks as though George's re-election bid will fail and his opponent, Norman Sharmen, is targeting the strip mines as part of his election campaign, Phil tries to offer him a generous donation if he will drop his anti-mine platform; Sharmen refuses.
  • Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier: The main point of the Royal Vizier's song "The Golden Rule (Reprise)".
  • Used in Urinetown: The Musical.
    Cladwell: It wasn't just cash, Ms. Pennywise. It was an awful lot of cash.

    Video Games 
  • Used several times in the Ace Attorney series, when the culprit turns out to be a person in a position of money and/or power. The most blatant example is in Investigations when Ernest Amano finds out that his son was potentially the murderer. After using his extended resources to actually be more effective than the police in searching the park for evidence, he actually buys the haunted house that contains the crime scene. Fortunately, Little Thief is there to save the day and recreate the scene.
    • As well in the first case, Redd White has so much money and has so many people blackmailed and panicked to do anything to stop him that he literally almost gets away with murder during the first half of the case because nobody feels safe to say anything and the girl on the stand, April May, doesn't seem to know him or at least doesn't want to get herself killed. When you finally do confront this jerk, he freely punches Phoenix, dares him to do something about it, and says that tomorrow he will testify in court in order to prove their own innocence and finger Phoenix as the murderer.
    • Also subverted in Justice For All by Max Galactica. He tells Phoenix he's SURE he won't be convicted of murder because he's rich and famous. When Phoenix points out that it doesn't work like that, Max panics. He's innocent, but you get him off the charge the proper way.
  • Advance Wars: Colin has this as his CO Super Power. By hoarding up loads and loads of money, it's possible for even his weakest infantry unit to wipe out an enemy Neotank in one shot. In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, his sister, Sasha, has a CO Power (Market Crash) that comes as close to screwing the rules as any CO Power in the game by actually lowering the enemy's CO Power meter by an amount decided by how much money you have.
    • Also, neither of these CO powers use up the money that they run on, so you can use them repeatedly, each time the effects thereof growing stronger (provided you don't spend more money on a turn than the next one will replace).
    • Just to make Colin's power even scarier, he has a 20% price cut on all his troops at the expense of some combat power. So he can get his neotanks for only a little more than his enemy is buying their heavy tanks. Zerg Rush is scary enough, but it becomes really scary when the "Zerglings" are doing 300% of your health in damage.
  • Lord Arthwipe in The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle Episode 1: A Dreadly Business puts it somewhat more baldly than most examples of this trope.
    Lord Arthwipe: I have done some terrible things in my time. Fortunately I am so rich I am above the law.
  • ADOM. The game's powerful divine beings accept all kinds of sacrifices, but by far the most efficient is cold, hard golden cash. Regardless of how often the player has changed alignments, worshiped other gods, and regardless of the horrifying evils (for lawful gods) or dreadful goods (for chaotic gods) he has wrought, sacrifice enough money and you go from despised, hated and doomed by the gods to a blessed champion of his cause in one fell swoop. Gold can also be used to pump most of the in-game attributes, ad infinitum, and to violate the rules of time and space: Using a blessed girdle of greed in conjunction with talents that increase carrying capacity by a percentage, players can actually carry more weight the more gold they carry; the only limit being the integer range (a large enough pile of gold will convert into negatives). None of these facts would constitute a Game-Breaker, were it not for the fact that players can obtain huge amounts of money fairly easily by exploiting certain bugs and game features.
  • In Baldur's Gate 2, the Cowled Wizards make sure that nobody uses magic in Amn without their approval. They will even chew you out and try to arrest you if you use it to defend yourself from a bloodthirsty vampire or a gang of robbers who also use magic. You can avoid this hassle by purchasing a "license" (read: bribe) for the low, low cost of 5000 gp.
  • It's the defining feature of self-professed Objectivist and Rapture founder Andrew Ryan in the first two BioShock games, as money plus power and influence seems to do more of the talking in his life even after he set up the societal rules of Rapture and ended up breaking them when Fontaine and Atlas proved to be formidable enemies. The trope is institutionalized by the city's Bot Shutdown stations. Caught by a camera or set off an alarm? For a couple of bucks, those hostile security robots will fall out of the sky and leave you be.
  • The Civilization series, particularly the earliest installments, feature this a lot. Bribing enemy units and whole cities to join your side? Easy as pie. Pay double and they won't realize it even happened.
    • There is also using money to get partially completed buildings and units finished immediately. You'd have thought that an enemy invasion force sitting outside the city or the threat of imminent nuclear destruction would be motivation enough for the workers to give their all, but apparently cash is the answer.
    • Also, anything that goes in Civilization goes for Spiritual Successor Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
  • In the Idle Game Clicking Bad, one can hire corrupt lawyers to keep the heat off, and occasionally bribe DEA officials to not raid their drug labs.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Naturally, the whole city is in the megacorporations' pocket, so judges only base their verdicts on which megacorporation they work for and spew rhetoric to justify it. In some cases, the rich are required to engage in disgusting behavior to get away with automated bribery, such as a woman who received bail insurance for accidentally hitting a pedestrian by leaving her victim to die.
  • Discussed in Daughter for Dessert with regards to Lainie, Cecilia, and their family, especially with Lainie herself saying that her family would murder the protagonist if they ever saw him hanging out with her.
  • In Disgaea D2 and Disgaea 5, if a Dark Assembly bill gets voted down by the Senate you can pay cash to pass the bill yourself. And if that doesn't work or you don't have enough money, there's always spilling Blood on the Debate Floor as your last option.
  • Double Homework:
    • Surprisingly averted with Dennis and his dad. Although they are both rich and don’t always follow the law, they’re never shown using their money to further or cover up their illegal activities.
    • Discussed in Amy’s epilogue. When Amy’s mom says that she’s proud of Amy for graduating high school, Amy brushes it off, saying that her mom would have just bribed the school officials if it was necessary for her to graduate. Astoundingly, Amy’s mom doesn’t deny it; she only says that a bribe wasn’t necessary, because Amy graduated on her own merit.
  • Hawke of Dragon Age II could be considered a heroic version (or not) of this trope. Ostensibly, the goal of the Deep Roads Expedition was to make you so rich that you or your mage sister would be completely out of reach to the templars. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, Hawke doesn't seem to do much with their wealth other than use it to keep themselves living comfortably outside of the Circle, an act which is still illegal for mages in almost all the nations of Thedas.
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Prince Charmles shows just how little respect he has for the whole Rite of Passage when he has Eight and his companions do all the hard work hunting down an Argonian Lizard to harvest its heart, then thumbs his nose at their hard work by buying a heart in the marketplace. When they call him on it, he blows them off and gleefully presents the bought heart at his initiation ceremony, claiming to have singlehandedly slain the beast and harvested it himself. This comes back to bite him BIG TIME down the line, as his father saw him buying the heart, and lets Charmles keep lying about it until finally slamming him with an EPIC calling out at what would have been his wedding ceremony. To further twist the knife, in the best ending, he ends up losing his status as heir to his newly discovered long-lost cousin... who went through the trial already.
  • Dune II: House Ordos is a mercantile House that is only concerned with generating revenue to sustain the elite class of their society. As a result, they rely heavily on hired mercenaries to do their fighting for them. But as long as they can safely get to the spice melange and harvest it for their own benefit, they absolutely do not care how many expendable pawns they have to buy off and send against their enemies.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, as long as you have the gold necessary to pay the fine, you can commit crimes to your heart's content (including outright murder) and walk away completely free after paying the fine. You can literally steal something from a shop, murder the shopkeeper, murder the first guard who comes to arrest you, take a nap in the shopkeeper's bed, turn yourself in to a different guard, pay the fine (around 2080 gold for two assaults and two murders, plus whatever the item you stole was worth), and then walk away as if nothing happened. You just have to be careful to keep your bounty from exceeding 5000 gold. At that point, you'll be marked as "kill on sight" by all guards in the game. The only way out of it at that point is to pay the Thieves' Guild to have your bounty erased (which involves joining them and may require advancing a few times in their ranks depending on the game).
      • In Morrowind, there is at least some justification given for this (and it could presumably apply to the rest of Tamriel as well). If you ask the right NPCs, you'll learn that, per Imperial law, the fines go to the families of the victims.
      • In Oblivion, you can also use the bribe option to bypass the disposition roulette mini-game; since this is widely considered a Scrappy Mechanic, it's well worth any money grinding that may be required.
      • In Skyrim, if you're a member of the Thieves' Guild, you can simply bribe a guardsman to just look the other way and let you be on your way.
    • In a historical example, Emperor Pelagius II inherited an empire devastated by war and famine, and almost completely broke. To solve the issue, he dismissed all of the senior leaders of the Imperial government including the Elder Council, and only allowed them to have their jobs back if they paid a steep fee. In the short term, this worked to fill the Empire's coffers, but in the long term, it cost him many advisors who were "rich in wisdom, but poor in gold." He would later be assassinated by a vengeful former council member.
  • The Fable trilogy has a lot of this, especially II and III. Someone report you to the guards for...murder, public indecency, assault, theft, vandalism, setting people on fire, you simply pay them and they go away. Same thing if there's something in a house you want and it's night. You buy the house, kick out the residents, and take what you want.
    • Also during the first part of Fable II, if you make enough money, you can buy the second-best class of longsword way before you should be able to, turning most sword fights for some time into a Curb-Stomp Battle. You can also BUY experience vials, drink them, and get absurdly strong, fast, and powerful. Similar with augments, so you can turn ordinary swords into an Infinity -1 Sword.
    • It is also possible to buy powerful weapons in Fable III, you still need the skills to make them effective, but good chance they will be stronger than current weapons, some upgrades also require you to spend money.
  • Armacham Corporation in F.E.A.R. Good luck buying off Alma, though.
  • Final Fantasy VII's President Shinra's view on life:
    These days, all it takes for your dreams to come true is money and power.
  • In Final Fantasy X not only can you bribe monsters (including some bosses) into leaving you alone, but also into giving you items.
    • And then there's the Aeon Yojimbo, who you recruit by haggling an astronomic amount of money and the damage of whose attacks are based on how much money you pay him before each attack. He can even kill any enemy (even bosses) in one hit if you pay him enough (though the amount scales with how powerful the enemy is).
  • Fugger 2 lets you play a merchant in the 17th century who slowly increases their influence over the country. From controlling the courts over rewriting the law to building up an army of robbers (and laying siege to cities), nothing is impossible as long as you can pay.
  • Galactic Civilizations II. Did you pick the Evil choice in every Karma Meter event, then researched the tech that unlocks the alignment bonuses and decided you like the Neutral or Good rewards better? Don't worry, just buy whatever alignment you want with the money you made from being so bad.
  • In The Godfather, bribing a Dirty Cop chief causes his men to turn a blind eye to your actions for a while if you don't raise your Heat level too much, while bribing a G-man on the take allows you to empty your Vendetta meter, causing enemy mobsters to stop bothering you until such time as you anger them enough again, and is the easier way to win a Mob War.
  • Grand Theft Auto, any one of them. Blow away a boatload of innocent people and cops? Lose your guns and pay a fine. Only much of a problem if it's early in the game and you have little money or it's later in the game and you lose all your good guns.
    • Except, you can bribe cops and doctors to keep your weapons in Vice City Stories. And in GTA IV, you don't even lose your weapons if you die, only if you're busted.
    • Devin Weston in Grand Theft Auto V lives by this principle. In the good ending, it comes back to haunt him when he tries to pull this on the protagonists.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, Avad reached a compromise of this sort with his more conservative subjects. Women still can't become soldiers, but if wealthy aristocratic women want to join the machine-fighting Hunters' Lodge, that's fine. This is presented not as societal corruption but as a step in the right direction, taken in the only way it could be.
  • Knight Bewitched: Discussed in optional dialogue with Malady, who analyzes Uno's anti-bourgeoisie beliefs and implies Uno had a tragic experience where someone used their wealth to get away with crime.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link can bribe a guard with ten rupees to let him sneak into Hyrule Castle. A bit pointless, as there is a nearby vine you can climb up for free and you can't bribe any of the other guards past him, but what the hey?
  • In Life Is Strange, the first episode implies the Prescotts, by virtue of their wealth, own the town and the cops, and if you tell the headteacher you saw their son waving a gun around, he finds it hard to believe and it's implied he merely scolds the boy. Worse still, the school is obviously a rich kid school, and the headteacher comes down harder on you for being a scholarship student.
  • In the Mass Effect series, the Illusive Man has almost unlimited resources at his disposal. In the third game, there is a console that shows a video record of him ordering his lead scientists to bring a dead person back to life who was thrown out of an exploding spacecraft, was mostly burned up when entering the atmosphere of a nearby planet, and then crashed into the surface without anything to slow down the impact.
    Scientist: It can't be done! It's not a matter of resources—
    Illusive Man: It's always a matter of resources!
  • In MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, on the final mission of one contract, you're sent to destroy the base used by the enemy forces. When you're halfway up the mountain to it, you'll receive a message from the enemy: "Attention mercenary. Whatever the Snakes are paying you, we'll double it. Just turn around and go back to your dropship." You can take the offer if you'd like, which results in you getting double the cash that the base contract offers but eliminates the chance of procuring salvage (you also have to fight your employer's two somewhat tough mechs instead of the enemy's four less tough mechs, though you can also take advantage of the fact that they don't turn hostile until you either cross a certain point on the map or kill one of them).
  • In Monster Hunter 3 (Tri), there is a man in Loc Lac City who makes a fortune selling Monster Cola. He lets his wealth go to his head and soon adopts this attitude. However, he doesn't get away with rule-screwing for long and he loses all his money when he sends out a tainted batch of cola. But when he's dirt poor again, he decides to invert this trope entirely:
    Uppity Instructor: Screw the rules! I'm broke as dirt!
  • It is possible to completely avoid the fight with Mephistopheles at the end of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark and get different endings by obtaining knowledge of his true name. The one person who can tell it to you will give it up for the small fee of 600,000 gold pieces.
    • It sounds big, but you can definitely scrounge up more than that over the course of the game without cheating.
  • Jorji Costava of Papers, Please attempts to bribe the inspector to allow him into Arstotska, and no matter how many times he's detained he always pops back up within a few days, having paid off the police to let him free. It's subverted on the day the criminal bulletin is introduced; he ends up on it despite having paid someone to remove his name.
  • In the world of Penny-Punching Princess, money is power. The title character can use this to her advantage by bribing monsters she doesn't want to fight or buying traps to turn against her enemies. In the most extreme circumstances, she can even nullify her own death if she has enough money.
  • Cough up some cash in Pizza Tycoon and the police will let you get away with crimes and whatnot. Of course, if you are open about what you are doing, or lack the funds, you'll just make things worse for yourself.
  • In Portal 2:
    • Cave Johnson exemplifies this trope. He seems to be running Aperture Science with no real consideration for the long-term effects of his actions, which ultimately leads to the company almost going bankrupt. A rare case of "Screw the Rules, I Don't Have Money." Or possibly "Screw the Rules and the Money, I Have SCIENCE!"
      Cave Johnson: Now, the beancounters told me we literally could not afford to buy $7 worth of moon rocks, much less 70 million. Bought 'em anyway. Ground them up, mixed them into a gel.
    • Another line from Cave Johnson:
      Cave Johnson:: The lab boys just informed me that I should not have mentioned the control group. They're telling me I oughtta stop making these pre-recorded messages. That gave me an idea: Make more pre-recorded messages. I pay the bills here, I can talk about the control group all damn day.
  • Randal's Monday: During the prison chapters, Randal manages to corner the market on matches.
  • Ratchet, of Ratchet & Clank, generally only survives whatever it is he's gotten involved with because he can buy guns significantly larger than himself.
  • Resident Evil 4. The rocket launcher. Able to One-Hit Kill anything in the game. The downside? It's expensive (thus this trope), has only one use, and takes up an assload of inventory space until you do use it. Generally used to skip the player's personal One Boss.
  • RUINER takes this trope to its logical extreme when a megacorporate dictator creates a new world order with a currency centered around economic caste systems: Karma. Karma can best be described as tax-free shares of the world itself; your karma balance determines the range of free goods and services (dividends) you receive each cycle. While karma can be exchanged, it's usually more profitable to hold onto the stuff and get supplies and labor, provided by the state, for the rest of your life. And, as befitting a dystopia, it's practically legal to murder outlaws for their karma, while those with karma typically offer jobs only when they need some heads popped. In short, if you have enough Karmic wealth, typically earned not through honest labor but violent wet-work, you can get away with anything, get into the upper ranks of society (called 'Heaven')... and you won't have to pay a dime.
  • The 3rd Street Saints in Saints Row: The Third have been playing this trope straight for the last couple years between Saints Row 2 and then. However, when The Syndicate paid the cops off, they broke the contract.
    Boss: Hey, what the hell? We paid this month!
    SPD Officer: Someone paid more.
  • The "Montana Legal" upgrade in Scarface: The World Is Yours slows police response times to half the pre-upgrade speed, giving Tony Montana some much-needed time to carry out his questionable deeds. Interestingly, in the original film, it was attempting to evade tax for his considerable profits that started Tony's downfall.
  • CEO Nwabudike Morgan from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. His only goal is to conquer the Fiction 500 rankings... but what if a law prevents him from doing so? No sweat! He just pays his lobby groups and bribes the local legislators to have it changed.
    • And one of the winning conditions for the game is to take over the global economy.
    • In the backstory, his company was one of the major financiers of the Unity, so he bribed the engineers to install a secret cryo-pod just for him. He claimed that being part-owner of the ship gave him that right.
  • Implied in Splatoon 2. A Sunken Scroll reveals that all of the Specials from the first game were recalled due to safety concerns, leading to the creation of the new batch currently used in ink battles. However, in the Octo Expansion, we find out that the comically-wealthy Pearl still has a Killer Wail, an old Special.
  • Quoted word-for-word by the Finance King in the English translation of Yakuza 0:
    Finance King: The money I made is MINE!!! Nobody can take it from me! The police!? Who cares? Screw the rules, I have money!

    Web Animation 
  • Benjamin Palmer of Broken Saints fame wouldn't be a Corrupt Corporate Executive if he didn't think himself above the law.
  • Exaggerated and Played for Laughs in the If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device episode "Jopallian Japers", where an explanatory text box explains that the governor of Jopall is able to have a magnet that attracts nonmetallic stuff because when you have enough money, you can break the rules, even those of physics. Ironically, the same character mostly does play by the rules in the normal sense — because he makes them and they all favour him.
  • OverSimplified: Bootleggers were about to get away with selling alcohol during Prohibition because they were rich enough to bribe cops like it was nothing.
  • The Christmas Episode of Prostitute Mickey introduces a character named Ebenezer, who is essentially a nastier and more immoral version of Scrooge McDuck who often forced children to let him urinate on them for money. One such child was a younger Mickey. Ebenezer rationalizes his actions by saying that the best thing about being rich is seeing what desperate people will do for money.
  • Tonin: Prior to the beginning of the series, Vilano-san used to work for the then King of Sanvil by having duels against anyone who wanted to marry the King's daughter. The first challenger to defeat Vilano got to marry her and eventually become the next King. When Vilano's old friend Mipussy showed up to issue a challenge, Vilano threw the fight and received half the royal treasure for doing so.


    Web Original 
  • On /tg/, 4chans' traditional gaming board, there are many tales of that rude, cheating, unwashed neckbeard who literally and figuratively stinks up the entire game shop... but the owners don't kick him out because he spends so much money there.
  • Cracked has their list of the five unbelievable ways that rich assholes cheat their way through life.
  • Not Always Right has many good examples of this trope,
    • This entry recounts when a woman entered a grocery checkout express line with several more items than the limit. When challenged on this, she responded that the rule was for "regular" people.
    • Or, say, a country club golf player hitting a golf ball into another man's backyard. The golf player then proceeds to use the backyard as if it was part of the golf course. The owner of the backyard is angry with yet another rich jerk thinking he can just walk right on in like he owns the placenote . He gets fed up, so he bodily throws the golfer back onto the golf course. The golfer threatens to sue because he "paid good money", as he reminds the owner every time he opens his mouth. The backyard owner says he'd like to see him try, countering with Screw the Money, I Have Rules!. Of note, the guy in question was permanently banned from that course, and the guy whose property he was trespassing on gets to now play for free.
      Golfer: That's assault! I am calling the police on you! I paid good money!
      Backyard Owner: I don't give a d*** how much you paid; this is private property and according to the [Texas] state penal code, I can remove you just like I did.
      Golfer: I'll sue! I paid good money!
      Backyard Owner: Go ahead. I'll be your lawyer.
    • This woman steals a coffee pot from a library because she believes that poor people don't deserve coffee or tea, and uses the same "logic" to steal roses from a flower shop.

    Web Videos 
  • In the Epic Rap Battles of History, "Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama", we get this:
    Romney: I'm not gonna let this battle be dictated by facts / I'm rich!

    Western Animation 
  • In the first episode of The Batman, Rupert Thorne attempts to bribe Batman by offering him a percentage of the profits he's gained from his crimes. Batman, of course, doesn't accept the bribe and turns him in like any other criminal.
  • This moment from Batman Beyond:
    Worker: You can't just walk in here like you own the place!
    Bruce: I do own the place.
  • This was the attitude of the Terrible Trio, a three-man gang who appeared on Batman: The Animated Series. Basically, they were three Spoiled Brats from very rich families who committed crimes simply for fun (brutally injuring more than one person in the process) and thought they were untouchable because of it. Batman's opinion of them summed it up perfectly:
    Batman: People like this are worse than the Joker. At least he has madness as an excuse.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Ed Wuncler III, whose grandfather owns everything in town and will never be arrested or prosecuted for anything. Riley even said "you're lucky your granddad owns the police" after a badly botched bank robbery. Ed's partner Gin Rummy denied it works that way and claimed they got away with it "because I am a criminal mastermind"... right before a cop comes by to return Ed's wallet from the scene of the crime.
    • His grandfather Ed I isn't much better. In one episode, he converts a health food restaurant into a soul food restaurant (firing all the employees except the illegal Mexicans in the process) in order to drive down property values in the area and convince the city to sell him a public park. In another episode, he uses a pony (which may not actually ever have existed) as leverage to perform a hostile takeover of Jazmine's lemonade stand.
      • He takes it pretty far when he tries to KILL a man so he can profit from his death. He intended to have his building blow up with the security guard inside and orchestrate it as a terrorist attack. He believed that, like the 9/11 attacks, the nation would come together and mourn and he'd be able to sell memorial items praising the guard as a hero. This trope is directly (and hilariously) lampshaded in the following exchange:
        Jack Flowers: Look, Huey, nobody is above the law. Wuncler is going to pay for this. You have my word.
        The Director: Excuse me, everyone, can I have your attention? I'm afraid we have to abort the mission to arrest Ed III and his grandfather.
        Jack Flowers: What?! What about the bomb?!
        Director: Sorry, Jack. Turns out some people are above the law. Wuncler will not pay for this. You have my word.
  • In The Critic, the main character Jay Sherman's boss is a Ted Turner-analogue named Duke Philips. His wealth is flaunted throughout the series, most notably when he pays Webster's Dictionary to create a new word just so he can win a game of Scrabble. In another episode, he has to rehire Jay Sherman after firing him prompting this exchange:
    Jay: You can't put a price tag on my humiliation!
    [Duke hands over a check]
    Jay: Wow! That's it to the penny.
  • Vlad Masters from Danny Phantom fits this trope. In fact, about the only thing he can't buy is the Green Bay Packers. (Points to him for actually trying, but the city refused to sell the team to him.) And Maddie. Or Danny. He can't buy Danny's love to make him like a son either.
  • DuckTales (1987): There's an episode in which a nightmare version of the boys' Uncle Scrooge tells them "I'm RICH! I can do ANYTHING!!"
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Remy Buxaplenty. The fact that Butch Hartman was picked on by rich kids in high school has absolutely nothing to do with the character's horribly exaggerated portrayal, really. To be fair, he was given a Freudian Excuse when it was revealed that his parents constantly ignore him and he antagonizes Timmy because he's jealous of the fact that Timmy has both a set of loving parents (well, more loving than Remy's, at least) and Fairy Godparents. As the series went on, Remy's actions seemed to have less to do with his family issues and more to do with Remy just acting like a douche for no reason. Hell, even before we found out about his parents he was like that, where he bought every ticket to the new Crash Nebula movie just for his piles of money.
    • Timmy, meanwhile, may have an infinite amount of magical wishes at his fingertips, but he actually doesn't have infinite magical wealth at his fingertips, as shown in one episode where he wishes for a large sum of money so he can get tickets to a concert, only to find out that it's against the rules; fairies can't grant any wishes that break the law, and magically creating money would require either stealing or counterfeiting.
    • The Pixies subtly invoked this in School's Out! The Musical. When Flappy Bob asks why are they floating, they claim that it's because they have the money to do it, and walking is for poor people.
  • A Comically Small Bribe on Family Guy to save Brian.
    Councilman: Mr. Griffin, this dog is a danger to society, albeit an articulate and charismatic one. But the law is the law and can't be circumvented by pretty words.
    Peter: I'll give you each $20.
    Councilman: Deal. He can go.
  • Mom is basically a female expy of Mr. Burns in the year 3000 in Futurama.
  • David Xanatos of Gargoyles. His introduction to viewers included the phrase "Pay a man enough and he'll walk barefoot into hell." The guy owns everything, all the shiny toys, all the best lawyers, everything. A fan joke is that Xanatos is so rich, he could afford to pay all the people necessary to say "hell" in a children's cartoon series. A DISNEY children's cartoon series, no less.
    • However, part of his character development is the realization that not everything can be solved by money and manipulation.
      • For example, he can't buy his way out of a prison sentence for receiving stolen property.
      • He did get the sentence shortened to a month. When he should have been in prison for years for orchestrating the entire theft. Again, all part of the plan. In this case, to show himself a good citizen.
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, the king of Atlantis, Croesus, bribes Hades and the Fates to prevent losses following a prophecy involving his city sinking. In the end, Atlantis sinks, complete with Hades returning his check and cracking "your bank went under". Another episode has Adonis delivering checks to all before him in a queue to get attended quickly - three times!
  • Gordie Gibble on Kick Buttowski is this. Not only did he make his dad buy the "Go-Go-Go Kart World" just to spite Kick, but then tried to cheat in the go-kart race using dirty tricks and gadgets he'd bought with big money. He has also tried to beat Kick in BMX races using his money rather than his talent as a BMX "Legend".
  • Kaeloo:
    • Discussed in Episode 38. Stumpy is worried about not being able to pass his driving test, and asks Mr. Cat for tips. The advice Mr. Cat gives him? "Just slip the instructor a $20."
    • In Episode 121, a Terrible Interviewees Montage has Mr. Cat pay off the interviewer during a job interview.
  • Kim Possible: In "Rufus in Show", Ron bribes the committee with 5 dollars. Kim is stunned that it works.
  • In The Legend of Korra the White Falls Wolfbats engage in some extremely blatant cheating during the final round of the Pro-Bending tournament, (throwing rocks in water, firing attacks longer than they are supposed to, etc.), and everybody (including the announcer) assumes they bribed the ref. Amon himself even points this specific incident out in a speech about the corruption in Republic City.
  • The main characters of Metalocalypse have this in its ultimate incarnation: "Screw the rules, the world economy would fail without us!" One episode also featured a movie producer rich enough to push even Dethklok around.
    • More like he was enough of a Jerkass to think he could get away with it. Par for the course, that doesn't end well for him.
  • Rusty McCabe in Ned's Newt. The town mayor is his parents' old friend and is more than eager to bend the rules of the great city scavenger hunt in his favor ("Remote Possibility"). Similarly, he takes Linda on a date to an amusement park owned by his parents and inexplicably seems to win all the time (the employees are threatened with being fired if he ever loses). ("Carnival Knowledge")
  • This trope turned up on Oh Yeah! Cartoons in the Super Santa short "Naughty". The villain was a descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge named Elmer Scrooge, whose first scene had him boast that being wealthy enabled him to do whatever he wanted.
  • Princess Morbucks from The Powerpuff Girls. "I have the most powerful power there is! Cold, hard cash!"
  • The Real Ghostbusters:
    • "You Can't Take It With You". The villain in the episode was an old miser who had built a device that would send his wealth to the afterlife, in effect, allowing him to take it with him. ("I didn't spend my whole life becoming rich just to leave it all to charity!" he rants.) Naturally, he doesn't give a damn about the adverse effects the device will have on the environment; and this isn't a case of a villain just not knowing it's dangerous either, he made sure that he was well protected. When the machine causes an endless mob of ghosts to spill out and Egon discovers that it will cause The End of the World as We Know It, the heroes are forced to confront him and fool him into taking himself out.
    • The Ghostbusters' smarmy, filthy rich, smug rival Paul Smart from the episode "Robo Buster" also acted like he was above the law (ex. stealing the Ghostbusters' weapon designs with no qualms or consequences) and got away with it until his flawed ghostbusting robot put the entire city in danger.
  • The Simpsons:
    • C. Montgomery Burns, Springfield's resident centenarian and lone plutocrat, once tried to block out the sun just to squeeze more money out of the townsfolk (since he owns the town's only power company), shrugs off serious allegations and charges with money and bribes, but still indulges in that joyful pastime of stealing candy from babies, with both disastrous results and hilarious consequences.
    • After Burns gets caught by the EPA hiding barrels of toxic waste:
      Judge Snyder: Mr. Burns, in light of your unbelievable contempt for human life, this court fines you $3 million.
      Mr. Burns: Smithers, my wallet's in my right front pocket. Oh, and I'll take that statue of justice too.
      Judge Snyder: Sold!
    • In The Movie, he even gets away with releasing attack dogs upon The Chief of Police. Of course, given who said Chief of Police is...
    • Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby. According to the Gabbo episode, he misappropriates city funding to pay assassins to murder political rivals of his. In an episode where his nephew is accused of assault and battery, he immediately begins trying to bribe the jury to ensure he gets off.
  • South Park: The "Chef Aid" episode features a Corrupt Corporate Executive record producer, whose kneejerk response to anyone pointing out whenever his actions are illegal are "I AM ABOVE THE LAW!!" Whether or not he believes this because of his wealth isn't explicitly stated, but it's implied.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • In the pilot, Star's parents decide to enroll her in Marco's school. The principal at first refuses, so her father opens a chest full of gold and jewels. He's much more accommodating after that.
    • In the third season, Star begins to question why, despite Mewni's Fantastic Racism, the royal families of some of the kingdoms are non-Mewman creatures such as demons, flying unicorn heads, and pigeons. Her mother handwaves her question about the pigeon prince with "He's rich." In a later episode, Tom tells some monsters that he is technically also a monster (or half-monster anyway), but they point out that he has it easier than them because he's royalty and has lots of money.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures.
    • Montana Max uses his vast wealth to push the other characters around and owns heavily polluting industries that make inane things like ice cream spoons and portable holes.
    • The sometime foils to Buster and Babs, Roderick and Rhubella Rat. For example, they smoke in non-smoking areas (in most places that would get you thrown out), ban Buster and Babs from a public golf course (that they own), and in Acme Bowl Roderick and some of his classmates bribe Plucky into revealing the Toon's playbook secrets. Or so they assume; Plucky is actually a Fake Defector.
  • Exaggerated in 12 oz. Mouse when Rectangular Businessman survives his supposed death in an exploding building by explaining that he's too rich to die.
  • Augustus St. Cloud in The Venture Bros. throws money around to bypass regulations of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, and states that his super-power is "hav[ing] an inordinate amount of money".]
  • We Bare Bears: In "Ranger Norm", the Bears learn Tabes' replacement Norm is actually working with a developer to bulldoze part of the forest and build a golf course. When Norm checks with his boss over the phone to see if their construction is legal, his boss replies "Norm, we're rich. Everything is legal!" and the two share an Evil Laugh.

"Ask money to save you, then!"


Video Example(s):


Screw The Rules, I Have Money

Yami Yugi complains to Kaiba that he summoned 3 Blue Eyes White Dragons in one turn, which is against the rules of the Duel Monsters Children's Card Game. Kaiba's immortal response named this trope.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney

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