A Bipartisan Plan to Combat Global Corruption

21 Anti-Corruption Commitments for 2021

The lat­est Corruption Perceptions Index shows lit­tle or no progress in the fight against cor­rup­tion around the world. Though a num­ber of coun­tries have made mea­sur­able gains in recent years, an almost equal num­ber have declined. Of the 180 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries reviewed in the lat­est index, more than two-thirds scored below 50 on a scale of 0 to 100. Across the globe, author­i­tar­i­an­ism is on the rise and demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions are under threat.

The United States’ score has been falling for sev­er­al years and, this year, hit a new low.

As a new Congress and a new admin­is­tra­tion begin, we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to act on a com­pre­hen­sive and inte­grat­ed approach to com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion, one that helps clean up our finan­cial and polit­i­cal sys­tems at home, and lever­ages the U.S.’s resources, exper­tise, and lead­er­ship in the fight to end cor­rup­tion abroad.

It is in this con­text that Transparency International’s U.S. office has com­piled the most promis­ing and sig­nif­i­cant ideas in a bipar­ti­san plan for com­bat­ting glob­al corruption.

These pro­pos­als have been dis­cussed and debat­ed. They are large­ly con­sen­sus ideas. They are prac­ti­cal, impact­ful, and have bipar­ti­san sup­port. In short, they have a real shot at get­ting done,” said Gary Kalman, Director of TI’s U.S. Office. “Collectively, these mea­sures would change the cal­cu­lus for cor­rupt actors in the U.S. and around the world.”

Following the bipar­ti­san pas­sage of a land­mark anti-cor­rup­tion bill, there is a con­tin­u­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to build an inte­grat­ed approach to com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion that rein­forces both the U.S. com­mit­ment to the rule of law and its glob­al lead­er­ship in the fight to end corruption.

Corruption is a sys­temic prob­lem that demands a sys­temic solu­tion,” said Kalman. “Because the glob­al finan­cial sys­tem, sup­ply chains, and legal frame­works are so inter­de­pen­dent, cor­rup­tion will not be addressed piece­meal or ad hoc. That’s why we’re propos­ing this whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach to com­bat­ting corruption.”

The approach is orga­nized around four fun­da­men­tal questions:

Who are the peo­ple? There are good actors, seek­ing to report and call out cor­rup­tion, and there are bad actors, seek­ing to hide dirty mon­ey, exploit loop­holes, and obfus­cate the truth. This set of pro­pos­als pro­tects the whistle­blow­ers, dis­ables the facil­i­ta­tors, and catch­es the criminals.

Where is the mon­ey? Corruption is, at its base, about mon­ey and influ­ence. Follow the mon­ey, and you will find the cor­rup­tion. These mea­sures strength­en the pow­er of the U.S. gov­ern­ment and its allies to fol­low dirty mon­ey and root out cor­rupt actors.

What are the loop­holes? Corruption thrives because loop­holes exist, or because laws are poor­ly enforced. Most loop­holes are unin­tend­ed and are straight­for­ward to close; oth­ers exist because pow­er­ful enablers con­struct­ed them. Either way, loop­holes facil­i­tate crime, cor­rup­tion, and threats to democ­ra­cy. Without sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly clos­ing these loop­holes and strength­en­ing our laws, cor­rup­tion will always find a way.

How do we strength­en insti­tu­tions? To fun­da­men­tal­ly address cor­rup­tion, some insti­tu­tions must be strength­ened, while oth­ers must be fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­formed. Our agen­da aims to build an army of anti-cor­rup­tion allies and watch­dogs with resources and reli­able insti­tu­tions to pro­tect them.

The road to America’s per­ceived decline has been paved with cor­rup­tion,” said Scott Greytak, Director of Advocacy for TI’s U.S. office. “We’ve writ­ten a roadmap for the Biden Administration and the new Congress that can get the United States back on track, install new safe­guards, and empow­er the United States Government to lead the glob­al fight against cor­rup­tion once again.”


Transparency International is the world’s largest coali­tion against cor­rup­tion. We give voic­es to vic­tims and wit­ness­es of cor­rup­tion, and work with gov­ern­ments, busi­ness­es, and cit­i­zens to stop the abuse of entrust­ed pow­er. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with nation­al chap­ters in more than 100 coun­tries, we are lead­ing the fight to turn our vision of a world free from cor­rup­tion into reality.

Our U.S. office focus­es on stem­ming the harms caused by illic­it finance, strength­en­ing polit­i­cal integri­ty, and pro­mot­ing a pos­i­tive U.S. role in glob­al anti-cor­rup­tion ini­tia­tives. Through a com­bi­na­tion of research, advo­ca­cy, and pol­i­cy, we engage with stake­hold­ers to increase pub­lic under­stand­ing of cor­rup­tion and hold insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als accountable.

Related Resources  Combating Global Corruption: A Bipartisan Plan [Full Report]

Media Contact  Scott Greytak, Director of Advocacy, Transparency International U.S. Office Telephone: +1 614–668-0258  Email: sgreytak@transparency.org  Twitter: @TransparencyUSA 


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