There is no doubt that white collar crime has increased over the last hundred years. Of course, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were reports of numerous scandals and reports of kickbacks, and other various types of shady activity within corporations and the government. One of the earliest known examples of white collar crime under the definition we use today occurred in the late 19th century. The specific case as noted in the text, Crime, Justice and Society: Criminology and the Sociological Imagination took place in 1872 and involved a company named Credit Mobilier, and its parent company, Union Pacific Railroad Company. Essentially, Credit Mobilier (CM), a financial institution, submitted numerous ultra high bills from a government awarded contract to build transcontinental railroads to its parent company, Union Pacific Railroad (UPR). The two companies were basically owned by the same individuals, so the company officials pocketed millions of dollars in profits from the excess or kickbacks of the ultra high bills (Berger, Free and Searles 341). There were other corporate and political crimes being committed during this time in history, but this particular crime was one of the more famous cases. .
Another aspect of white collar crime happens to be in the realm of governmental or political crime. For this purpose, governmental crime can be categorized by crime where there is personal, financial and/or political gain which is sought after. It is in this area where the argument to follow will be of interest. The topic I want to discuss is the argument of using "soft money" in political election campaigns. Let me start with a simple definition of what "soft money" is. According to a web site dedicated to informing the public about the inherent dangers with "soft money" as associated with politics is simply defined as, money which by definition and law is not supposed to be part of the federal campaign finance system.