Slush fund

Slush fund

Slush fund is a colloquial term which has come to mean an auxiliary monetary account or a reserve fund. However, the term has special meaning within a context of corrupt (including but not limited to) political dealings by governments, large corporations or other bodies and individuals. Slush funds can have particular elements of illegality, illegitimacy, or secrecy in regard to the use of this money and the means by which the funds were acquired.

Political dealings with slush funds tend to create suspicions of quid pro quo (buying political favors), and can be viewed on the surface as corrupt and subversive of the democratic process. For example, then-senator Richard Nixon was involved in a scandal in 1952 that concerned what was called a "slush fund" of campaign contributions. He went on television with an accounting of the money, and was acquitted in popular opinion.

The term "slush fund" is also used in accounting to refer to a general ledger account in which all manner of transactions can be posted to commingled funds and "loose" monies by debits and credits cancelling each other out.

Another meaning is a fund where one quarter's profits are hidden, in case there isn't enough profit during the next quarter for management to make their bonuses.

Source of term

The term "slush fund" was originally a nautical term; the slush referred to the fat or grease that was obtained by boiling salted meat, the sale of which could then be used to provide the crew with special luxuries. The money obtained from this sale was placed into the so-called 'slush-fund'.

In popular culture


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