Today’s guest post is from Shruti Shah and Alex Amico from the Coalition for Integrity:
We are living through an emergency more severe than anything in recent memory. The COVID-19 public health crisis has triggered an associated economic crisis, and both will require a dramatic government response. But the fact that we are dealing with an emergency situation—in which swift and drastic government action is essential—does not mean that we should put aside our concerns about government corruption, or relax our vigilance about demands for transparency and accountability in government programs. Quite the opposite: In order to respond effectively, and to demonstrate that they can be trusted, governments other institutions need to demonstrate that they are committed to honest oversight of the extraordinary actions necessary to combat this pandemic. The need to act swiftly does not abrogate the government’s responsibility to adhere to principles of anticorruption, accountability, and transparency.
There is no better illustration of this than the stimulus package being negotiated (at the time of writing) in the U.S. Congress. This stimulus will result in a flow of an enormous amount of money, and the risks of corruption, fraud, and misappropriation or diversion are extremely high. It is therefore essential that the stimulus bill incorporate meaningful transparency, oversight, and anticorruption provisions. For example: Continue reading
Today’s guest post is from Shruti Shah, President and CEO of the Coalition for Integrity (C4I), and Alex Amico, a C4I legal fellow.
Recently, the Coalition for Integrity released a report on Enforcement of Ethics Rules by State Agencies (along with an associated index and map) which examined the performance of state-level ethics agencies across the United States. In addition to providing basic enforcement statistics, the report emphasized two aspects of these agencies’ performance. First, the report looked at how these agencies enforced the ethics laws they were charged with enforcing, to see how aggressively agencies stand up for ethical government within their legal authority. Second, the report examined how transparent the agencies were in that enforcement, and hence how accountable these agencies make themselves to the public. (The report also ranked each state and agency based on their transparency of enforcement). Both of these aspects of agency performance are crucial to creating a culture of honest government and a robust ethics enforcement regime. Some our headline findings with respect to each of these dimensions of performance were as follows: Continue reading
Last week Transparency International-USA released a new report entitled Verification of Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs. The report is available for download on TI-USA’s website (the link there opens the document as a pdf, so I can’t do a direct link). It’s a helpful document on an important but surprisingly neglected topic: although there’s a ton of material out there about how to design a corporate compliance program (for anti-bribery and related matters), there’s much less out there on how to go about assessing these programs to ensure they’re actually working as they’re supposed to.
I won’t bother summarizing the document here. Shruti Shah, the TI-USA Senior Policy Director who was one of the driving forces behind the report, has a nice succinct summary over at the FCPA Blog. I’ll try to do a more substantive post within the next week or two on my reactions to the report and the more general issues it raises, but for now I just wanted to bring this document to the attention of GAB readers.