Dropping two points to score 69 on The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), recently released by Transparency International, the U.S. had its worst score in eight years.
The Index draws from over a dozen independent expert assessments and surveys to measure perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. Scores on the CPI range from zero (very corrupt) to 100 (not corrupt).
“Weaknesses in our laws are being exploited by a growing list of bad actors at home and abroad," said Gary Kalman, director of the new U.S. office of Transparency International, in a statement.
"From foreign despots to terror networks, drug cartels to human traffickers, some of the world’s most destructive forces are benefiting from gaps in U.S. law," added Kalman. "Multiple corruption scandals in the last year alone have shown that transnational corruption is often facilitated, enabled, or perpetuated by countries toward the top of the Index, including the United States. Fortunately, bipartisan legislation currently before Congress, the ILLICIT CASH Act and the Corporate Transparency Act, would go a long way toward stopping these interests from using the U.S. as a laundromat for their dirty cash.”
From a global perspective, more than two-thirds of countries and territories score below 50, with an average score of 43. Since 2012, only 22 countries have significantly improved their scores, while 21 have declined significantly.
“Frustration with government corruption and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for greater political integrity,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. “Governments around the world must urgently address the corrupting role of special interest money in campaign financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”
To end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems. Transparency International recommends:
- Manage conflicts of interest.
- Control political financing.
- Strengthen electoral integrity.
- Regulate lobbying activities.
- Empower citizens.
- Tackle preferential treatment.
- Reinforce checks and balances.