Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bribery 101

So you have a multimillion dollar project that needs the approval of one or more government officials. Or maybe you have a business that wants to secure lucrative contracts either issued or steered by government officials.

Who ya gonna call? Bribe-makers. (Apologies to Elmer Bernstein for shamelessly paraphrasing the line from the music he wrote for the 1984 movie Ghostbusters.)

Most people understand obvious bribery as money in an envelope passed in the dark of an alley. But bribery is so much more than that.

To have a better understanding of the techniques used to bribe public officials, read the OECD Bribery Awareness Handbook for Tax Examiners. OECD is an acronym for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The United States is one of the thirty member countries.

The interesting material starts on page 7 and over the next five pages lists several indicators of bribery. It also shows how investigators detect evidence of bribery.

Yes, this could be a how-to tutorial for government officials on the take, but they already know the bribery game is played. It's posted here as an eye-opener for honest citizens so they can look at some of their elected and appointed officials' dealings with a better-informed eye.


Anonymous stebbijo said...

Wow - that was s super read and could be construed as a bribery tutorial. I skimmed it quickly. I especially liked the bribery tactic whre a trust fund is set up and you pay the lawyer who pays whoever. My God - that is absolutely amazing. So how many folks do those lawyers payoff?

Or paying someone's bill as a backhanded way to help a political candidate?

Amazing stuff - so how do you get the audit to prove it all?

5:48 PM, April 24, 2007  
Anonymous stebbijo said...

Forget it - you don't have to answer that one. I kept reading. Amazing.

5:54 PM, April 24, 2007  
Anonymous stebbijo said...

Forget it - you don't have to answer that one. I kept reading. Amazing.

5:55 PM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Thanks for reading and for your comments.

Unraveling bribery in all but the simplest and most obvious cases is time-consuming and manpower intensive. That's why it's frequently well beyond the capabilities of local law enforcement. The problem is that since bribery usually involves government officials well known by local, county, and state law enforcement, those agencies' loyalties and objectivity are questioned and sometimes questionable. That is also why it is sometimes necessary to try and establish a federal predicate in a state case so victims can jump to the federal agencies. Making that higher bar takes longer and more effort, but its worth it.

7:13 PM, April 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assuming, arguendo, that someone wants to report a possible Federal crime, is there a reasonably friendly federal face in North Idaho that person ought to talk to? Should they have an attorney representing them? Can you post a short list of either or both federal officials and/or decent attorneys that can help that potential someone through the fear of "The Man"?

7:49 PM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Wow! That is a much more difficult question than I'm used to, but it's a good one. If you've had a brush with the law and feel that might hurt your credibility or if the thought of contacting the feds just gives you the heebie-jeebies (perfectly understandable reaction), then you might want to use an attorney to pass your information without disclosing your identity. The advantage of going through an attorney is that after you've described the crime and the facts you have, the attorney will know which agency is most appropriate to contact.

If you don't want to use an attorney and if you already have a pretty good idea which agency to contact but don't want to walk in and give the information personally, give it over the telephone anonymously. If you contact the wrong agency, you should be told which one to contact.

As far as specific attorneys are concerned, I don't know any here in Coeur d'Alene well enough to recommend. Any attorney should be able to discuss your information with you and pass it. However, if you're involved in the crime you want to report, I would definitely recommend contacting an attorney, preferably one who successfully practices criminal law.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

8:07 PM, April 24, 2007  
Anonymous stebbijo said...

Years ago there was this att. out of Bonner County from the State of Washington.

He was defending some folks in an alldeged crime. From what I recall it was a mess.

He ran ads asking for folks to anonymously call/write about any corruption in the local newspapers.

I guess it worked - was said it was a 20 million dollar lawsuit that he won.

9:50 PM, April 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a Vegas perspective:

"The Politics of Extortion"


11:44 PM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Thank you for reading and posting, especially the link to the newspaper's comment. I'm going to relink it here. Thanks again.

"The Politics of Extortion", by the Las Vegas Review Journal publisher Sherman Frederick, April 15, 2007, downloaded April 25, 2007, at 06:40 PDT.

6:47 AM, April 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SR blog seems to find your musings odd and 'vague'. I wonder what that means?

6:11 PM, April 25, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


I'm sure I don't know.

A fellow blogger called me this afternoon and told me about the stuff on HBO. As I explained to her, my blog is intended to hook up some EWU Sociology and Criminal Justice students with information they might not otherwise find on their own. My latest post on bribery gives them access to a French document intended to help tax collectors better recognize bribery when they see it. The document did that clearly and concisely. My thought in linking to that document was that the students might recall it when they go out into their respective communities to pursue their careers.

I do try whenever possible to tie my posts to something going on in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area so the students will understand that things happening elsewhere can happen anywhere, even near where they are attending university. Close-to-home examples are good teaching techniques. The cigarette smuggling case I blogged (based on the S-R's own reporting) was an example of that.

Based on the emails I occasionally get from the students, they seem to appreciate some of the stuff I post.

6:30 PM, April 25, 2007  

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