Representatives Cohen, Keating, Wilson and Salazar introduce the Combating Global Corruption Act

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New Ranking System in Fight to Mitigate, Prosecute and Deter Corruption Worldwide

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Bill Keating (MA-09), Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27) along with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Todd Young (R-IN) today re-introduced the Combating Global Corruption Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would raise the profile of efforts to fight international corruption by evaluating and publicly naming countries where corruption is rampant. In line with President Joe Biden’s proclamation that fighting corruption is a “core United States national security interest,” the legislation creates a ranking system for corruption similar to the successful Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, International Religious Freedom Report and the annual Trafficking in Persons Report.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“Anti-corruption efforts should be at the core of U.S. foreign policy, reflecting the Biden Administration’s declaration that corruption is a national security threat – as indeed it is. As a senior member of the bipartisan, bicameral Helsinki Commission, bipartisan legislation to counter corruption is deeply important to our group, and to the nation. Corruption is the fuel of human rights abuses and dictatorships and is the primary means by which dictators and their cronies influence government and society.”

“As a founding member of the Caucus Against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy and former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber, I have been extremely concerned by the national security threat foreign government corruption poses to the United States,” said Congressman Keating. “This legislation shines a light on those countries supporting illicit finance globally and will ensure bad actors in Russia, China, Iran, and elsewhere cannot hide their crimes from the world.”

“As co-chair of the Counter-Kleptocracy Caucus, I am grateful to co-lead this important bipartisan legislation to hold foreign officials accountable and combat corruption around the world. This legislation is particularly necessary as American taxpayers deserve oversight and accountability into how their money is spent overseas,” said Congressman Wilson.

“Corruption must be combatted wherever it rears its ugly head, and this bill looks to do just that,” said Congresswoman Salazar. “We must help those who have been robbed by corrupt regimes and stand with the victims of corruption who are crying for freedom from this oppression. Don’t be mistaken— corruption is evil and chips away at the core of a democracy.”  

Global corruption erodes trust and confidence in democratic institutions, the rule of law, and human rights protections. It also damages the United States’ competitiveness and creates barriers to economic growth in international markets. Around the world, corruption endangers national and international security by fostering the conditions for violent extremism, hampering the ability of the United States to combat terrorism, entrenching high poverty, and by weakening institutions associated with governance and accountability.

The Combating Global Corruption Act would require the State Department to identify corruption in countries and rank them in a public, three-tiered system with respect to levels of corruption in their governments, similar to the Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report. The bill would also establish minimum standards for combating corruption; evaluate foreign persons engaged in grand corruption in the lowest tiered countries for consideration under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act; and designate an anti-corruption point of contact at U.S. diplomatic posts in the two lowest tiered countries.

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