In the United States, let's say you have:

  • A generic POLITICIAN of any type
  • A generic ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE of any type
  • A generic BUSINESS of any type

If an ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE pressures a BUSINESS to make campaign contributions to a POLITICIAN:

The ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE would be guilty of extortion

Correct, or is there more to it?

Additionally, what if the POLITICIAN had influence with the ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE and encouraged the ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE to extort the BUSINESS? What crime would the POLITICIAN be guilty of?

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    – feetwet
    Jul 9, 2020 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


My understanding is that the syndicate would be committing an act of extortion.

Under the RICO Act, IF the politician conspired with the syndicate OR IF the politician had something like an 'understanding' with the syndicate, then they (any, and all involved) could be charged with the crime (extortion), racketeering and conspiracy.

Additional crimes/laws to consider:

  1. Campaign finance violations
  2. Money laundering
  3. Compelled speech (1st Amendment)


The crime of conspiracy requires an agreement between two or more persons to commit an unlawful act with the intention of carrying it out. It is the intention to carry out the crime which constitutes the necessary mens rea for the offence: Yip Chiu-Cheung v R (1994) 99 Cr App R 406 at 410, per Lord Griffiths; R v Wilson (unrep, 12/08/94, NSWCCA).


There are a lot of if's in your question as you are describing a general situation. The crime that you are describing is, In general, extortion. But if it actually turned out that say some of the directors of the company had an agreement with the politicians, then that would also be understood as conspiracy.

Moreover, the actual crime needs to be taken into account. For example, if the crime was money laundering or forced labour then these crimes would be charged under these indictments.

Take for instance the recent uncovering of a torture chamber by the Norwegian police after breaking into an organised federation of criminal organisations operating secretly via EncroChat. This crime would be indicted under Section 102 of Norway's Penal Code:Crimes against humanity.

Any person is liable for punishment for crimes against humanity who as part of a broad or systematic attack on a civilian population...

e) imprisons or in some other serious manner deprives a person of liberty contrary to the fundamental rules of international law

[and] f) tortures a person in his/her custody or control by causing serious physical or mental pain.

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