Monthly Archives: June 2022
Guest Post: Oversight of Beneficial Owners Can Strengthen Integrity in the Transition to Renewable Energy
Today’s guest post is from Alanna Markle, a Policy and Research Associate at Open Ownership, and Erica Westenberg, the Governance Programs Director at the Natural Resource Governance Institute.
The transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources is crucial to the health of the planet. Yet the renewables sector is likely to face political, social, and governance challenges—including risks of corruption and conflict of interest—similar to those that have been observed in extractive industries and other sectors. One of the tools that anticorruption advocates have emphasized as crucial across sectors—transparency regarding the true beneficial owners of private companies—may be highly important in addressing corruption and conflict of interest risks in the sustainable energy transition for several reasons: Continue reading
Corruption’s Queer History: Stonewall’s Seedy Underside
A little after midnight on June 28, 1969, New York City police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a seedy bar in Greenwich Village known for catering to a mostly LGBTQ crowd. Such raids were not uncommon—in fact, the Stonewall Inn had already been raided just four days prior to that now historic evening. But for some reason, that particular raid on that particular night had touched off violent clashes between police and Stonewall’s patrons, becoming a watershed moment for the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the United States. Indeed, the Stonewall Inn is now a national monument, and the anniversary of Stonewall is commemorated every year with Pride parades around the world.
In the days following the riots, however, the Stonewall Inn was in utter disarray: graffiti sprawled on its boarded-up windows read: “GAY PROHIBITION CORRUPT$ COP$ / FEED$ MAFIA.” That brief and blunt statement captures an important truth about Stonewall, one that is important for understanding both the historical context of the Stonewall uprising, as well as the intersection between anti-LGBTQ discrimination and corruption that persists today: The riots weren’t only about police discrimination—organized crime and corruption also played a fundamental role.
U.S. States Have Failed to Address Charter School Corruption. It’s Time for Federal Intervention.
In the United States, charter schools are publicly-funded, tuition-free institutions that operate largely independent from the traditional public school system. Charter schools are established through a contract, or charter, between the school and an “authorizer,” which is the school district, state education agency, or other entity that a state has sanctioned to approve these charters. Once approved, charter schools do not have to follow the same regulations as traditional public schools but instead are required to operate under the terms and academic standards set by their authorizing contract.
Proponents tout charter schools’ autonomy and flexibility: free from burdensome education laws and local regulations, these schools can be innovative in their curricula and management, and can compete with one another and with traditional public schools in the education “market.” Parents will then have the opportunity to “vote with their feet,” and they—along with the public funding designated for their children—will flow into better schools, leaving the poorly performing charter schools to shut down.
Or so the argument goes. In reality, thanks to rampant corruption that has come to plague the charter school industry, this public funding often flows not into the best schools but rather into the pockets of dubious school officials and their affiliates. There have been numerous charter school corruption scandals: self-dealing real estate leases, exorbitant salaries for school executives, and kickbacks from inflated purchases of school equipment and supplies, to name a few.
Antibribery Policy: A Checklist
That a law against bribery is the keystone of any serious fight against corruption goes without saying. What isn’t said is that an antibribery law is only the keystone. That just as an arch consists of more than its center stone, a robust, effective antibribery policy takes more than a law criminalizing bribery. Below is my checklist of what else is required. Reader comments solicited.
My list starts with a careful review of the antibribery law itself. For as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes reported in 2017, many nations’ law have gaps that make it easy for bribe takers and payers to maneuver around it unscathed; others contain ambiguities that leave it to the courts to say what is and isn’t a bribe.Continue reading