What is a slush fund?
A slush fund is an unregulated fund used at the discretion of someone in a position of power, such as a senior executive or elected official. It’s sometimes called a “black fund” and is usually kept separate from other funds. The presence of a slush fund usually implies dishonest or fraudulent use of money for personal gain.
Where have you heard about slush funds?
When used in a political context “slush fund” often refers to a fund that’s primarily used to bribe and influence others. The existence of slush funds isn’t usually a secret, however where the money is sourced from and what it’s spent on tends to be hidden.
You may remember hearing about slush funds in the media coverage of the 2009 MPs’ expenses scandal, when the public learned of dozens of MPs wrongly using tax payers’ money to pay for their lavish lifestyles.
From the installation of birdhouses and the purchase of dog food to moat cleaning, MPs were caught misusing public funds for their personal benefit.
The disclosure led to a number of resignations, sackings, early retirements and, in the most serious cases, prosecutions.
What you need to know about slush funds.
In business slush funds can be used to influence decisions or buy information that isn’t freely available. Using funds in this way can be described as a form of corporate bribery and corruption.
Misusing funds without the proper permissions is illegal. It’s also illegal to offer, promise, give, request, agree, receive or accept bribes in the workplace.