Although voters dislike politician corruption, the misuse of public funds by elected officials remains rampant in emerging democracies. This dissertation investigates why politician corruption persists in these democracies through the lens of Kenyan politics. It uses politician interview data, survey data, audit data, and administrative data to develop three main findings. First, high levels of voter poverty and low levels of voter information create an environment of voter pessimism that requires politicians to adopt a less honest representational style in order to cater to constituent demands. Second, although voters dislike politician corruption, a pessimistic electorate expects for politicians to provide the safety net that the public sector fails to provide through charitable assistance. Third, voter pessimism creates apathy towards corruption, and the electorate does not reward candidates for being clean. Together, the findings explain why politician corruption is pervasive in new democracies, and illustrates how voter pessimism enables dishonest politicians to thrive at the expense of honest ones.