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Is it legal to bribe a politician to not run for a federal office?

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    If it's legal, it's not bribery. If it's bribery, it's not legal.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 8:17
  • 1
    @phoog Many (perhaps most) bribes are perfectly legal.
    – bdb484
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 12:50

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In the this is a criminal offence, for the person offering the payment and the politician. The Representation of the People Act 1983, s.107 has this to say:

Any person who corruptly induces or procures any other person to withdraw from being a candidate at an election, in consideration of any payment or promise of payment, and any person withdrawing in pursuance of the inducement or procurement, shall be guilty of an illegal payment.

By virtue of s.112, a third party who supplies the money (knowing what it is for) can also be found guilty of an illegal payment.

An "illegal payment" is an example of an "illegal practice" which triggers various consequences, aside from the penalty for the specific offence. The election could be declared void, and a candidate who colluded in offering the payment could be barred from standing again (s.164). A future candidate who employs that person as a campaign worker would be barred from being elected (s.165). In Scotland, they would be barred from holding any public office, not just an elected one (s.173A).

The old-fashioned language in the statute is because it is copied from s.15 of the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act 1883, part of the series of laws in the 19th century reforming the electoral system.

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    That is specific to dropping out of an election. Not for "I pay you to not register as electable"
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 12:56

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