Beware of Simony!
SIMON of Samaria was highly regarded in his community. He lived in the first century C.E., and people were so enthralled by his practice of magical arts that they would say of him: "This man is the Power of God, which can be called Great."—Acts 8:9-11.
After Simon became a baptized Christian, however, he took note of a power much greater than what he formerly displayed. It was the power that was conferred upon Jesus’ apostles, enabling them to impart to others miraculous gifts of the holy spirit. Simon was so impressed that he offered the apostles money and requested: "Give me also this authority, that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive holy spirit."—Acts 8:13-19.
The apostle Peter rebuked Simon, saying: "May your silver perish with you, because you thought through money to get possession of the free gift of God. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not straight in the sight of God."—Acts 8:20, 21.
From this Bible account comes the word "simony," which has been defined as "the sin of buying or selling positions or promotions in the church." The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that especially from the 9th to the 11th century "simony pervaded the monasteries, the lower clergy, the episcopacy, and even the papacy." The ninth edition of The Encyclopædia Britannica (1878) notes: "A study of the history of the Papal conclaves leaves the student with the conviction that no election untainted by simony has ever yet been made, while in a great number of instances the simony practised in the conclave has been of the grossest, most shameless, and most overt kind."
True Christians today must beware of simony. For example, some might shower excessive praise or generous gifts upon those who can grant them added privileges. Conversely, those who can grant such privileges might show favoritism toward those able—and often eager—to shower them with gifts. Both situations involve simony, and the Scriptures clearly condemn such a course. "Repent, therefore, of this badness of yours," Peter urged Simon, "and supplicate Jehovah that, if possible, the device of your heart ["this scheme of yours," New Jerusalem Bible] may be forgiven you; for I see you are a poisonous gall and a bond of unrighteousness."—Acts 8:22, 23.
Happily, Simon saw the seriousness of his wrong desire. He begged the apostles: "You men, make supplication for me to Jehovah that none of the things you have said may come upon me." (Acts 8:24) Heeding the important lesson contained in this account, genuine Christians strive to avoid any taint of simony.
I would say the "privileges" are generally of an "intangible" kind (power, esteem). Those from which they can be "bribed out" are mostly the weakly paid full-time "servants" which are also elders (pioneers and especially circuit overseers, which play a decisive part in the appointment of ministerial servants and elders). In any case, the above article shows that the connection came to the WT's minds.