The global fight against corruption remains a high priority for the United States, and is all the more imperative in the context of the international financial crisis. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton have underscored the importance to U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives of fighting corruption and integrate the issue into U.S. engagement with other countries. Anti-corruption is a tenet of U.S. foreign policy because corrupt practices sabotage development efforts, lead to misuse of public resources, erode confidence in democratic institutions, and ease the way for transnational criminals and terrorists.
The United States is also mindful of the destabilizing impact that corruption has on fragile states, which struggle to maintain the rule of law or provide basic services for their populations. Corruption is a key tool that illicit actors use to infiltrate and subvert law enforcement, justice, and other public institutions and to plunder national coffers, destabilizing the country and stymieing efforts to sustain poverty eradication, economic development, and public security. Kleptocrats capitalize on the weak or nonexistent institutions of fragile states and ungoverned spaces to amass wealth, in turn fostering their use as safe havens for crime and terrorism; hubs for trafficking in people, drugs, and weapons; and platforms for exportation of violence far beyond their borders.
Central to U.S. efforts is working collaboratively with our partners to promote effective implementation of the first global legally binding instrument against corruption, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Consistent with past G-8 commitments, our focus since the 2008 Toyako report has remained on implementation review, recovery of the proceeds of corruption, and technical assistance. The United States actively has supported development of the terms of reference for an effective UNCAC review mechanism and strongly supports their adoption at the third Conference of States Parties (COSP) in Doha, Qatar. The United States also has provided significant funding and expertise to promote implementation of Chapter V (Asset Recovery) of UNCAC, by providing bilateral technical assistance, supporting regional activities and training, and working with others on the development of best practice guides. The United States provides hundreds of millions of dollars in technical assistance to aid countries in confronting corruption and promoting good governance. Much of that technical assistance builds capacity to prevent corruption, and the United States has been pleased to work with G-8 and other partners to discuss concepts related to the implementation of the UNCAC Prevention chapter, for consideration at the COSP in Doha. U.S. practice on prevention and the experience of other countries may be instructive. In fact, one of the earliest actions of the Obama Administration was to issue new rules on public ethics.
President Obama has stated, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” While cooperation is the backbone of U.S. policy on corruption, the United States also deploys tools to deny safe haven to kleptocrats and their enablers and to target their illicitly-acquired assets. The United States continues to implement the elements of the 2006 "National Strategy to Internationalize Efforts to Combat Kleptocracy," which reiterated U.S. policy of promoting denial of safe haven to corrupt foreign persons, those who corrupt them, and the proceeds of their corruption. Since the 2008 report, the United States has continued to deny or revoke visas to payers of bribes and corrupt officials, with increased scrutiny of those involved in corruption in the extraction of natural resources. Further U.S. engagement on natural resource corruption has taken place through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), of which the United States is an active supporter, including through additional planned contributions to the EITI multi-donor trust fund since the 2008 report. Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and in compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, U.S. authorities have targeted those who bribe foreign officials, with total corporate criminal penalties exceeding $900 million in 2008 and the first months of 2009. The United States has continued its efforts to combat money laundering by kleptocrats and others, through measures in the U.S. domestic regime, capacity building, and contributing to formulation and implementation of multilateral policy.
[The full report can be found at: http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/2009_Accountability_Report_Final,0.pdf]