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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Senate bill seeks to reduce international corruption

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The U.S. Senate recently advanced a bipartisan bill designed to fight international corruption.

The Combatting Global Corruption Act (S. 1309), introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Todd Young (R-IN), would encourage greater transparency in U.S. foreign and security assistance and publicize anti-corruption efforts.

The bill requires the State Department to conduct an assessment and develop a report on each country’s efforts to combat corruption. It encourages sharing information and best practices across agencies to foster greater cooperation on anti-corruption efforts within the U.S. government. These measures are the key to reducing corruption, the lawmakers said.

“Corruption is a threat to peace and stability around the world and poses a serious threat to democracy and democratic values. Authoritarian regimes the world over, including both Russia and China, are investing heavily in destabilizing countries through dirty money and corrosive capital. It is critical that we make every effort to counter this,” Cardin said. “We enter this fight clear eyed – any fight against corruption will be long-term and difficult. But it is time for the United States Congress to send a strong message to our nation and to the world that corruption cannot be accepted as the status quo.”

The bill was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

“Corruption is a root cause of human suffering and conflict around the globe. In Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere, corruption has stood in the way of stability efforts and threatened our service members by perpetuating armed conflict, blocked humanitarian aid from reaching those in need and undermined our global economic health with the diversion of $1 trillion annually in bribes,” Young said. “Given the significant physical and material toll that corruption inflicts on those around the world, I am proud the Senate passed this bipartisan effort to support the world’s most vulnerable while holding those in power responsible for their actions.”

A recent study said the failure to curb corruption is contributing to a worldwide crisis of democracy. Further, Freedom House did a study that found that political rights and civil liberties declined for the 13th consecutive year. Specifically, 68 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties during 2018, with only 50 nations registering gains.