Combating Corruption and Promoting Good Governance

Corruption and other forms of crime are interconnected: addressing both is core to INL’s mission.

Keeping corruption in check:

  • Boosts stability, the rule of law, human rights, and democracy
  • Promotes economic growth in foreign markets, and levels the playing field for American businesses
  • Strengthens our law enforcement partners
  • Makes it harder for those engaging in transnational crime, terror, and illegal trade to operate

The United States believes addressing corruption begins with countries around the world sharing a common vision and a strong commitment to taking effective, practical steps to prevent and prosecute corruption. To turn talk into action, the United States directly engages other countries, promotes internationally recognized standards, sponsors reform programming, and contributes to building the architecture for cross-border cooperation. To sustain this effort, INL engages in high-level diplomacy and reinforces the important role played by civil society, the media, and the business community.

Promoting Shared Standards and Building Political Will: The United States helped negotiate the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and is working around the world to assist governments fulfil their obligations under this comprehensive set of standards. UNCAC covers all aspects of combating corruption, and with over 175 States parties, it is nearly universal. Through UNCAC, as well as separate anticorruption treaties enforced through the Organization of American States and Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the United States has led the effort to create roadmaps and benchmarks for reform in areas such as bribery, conflicts of interest, procurement, and independence of judges.

To ensure countries take their commitments seriously, INL is on-the-ground, strengthening the ability of governments and their citizens to promote better public transparency, accountability, and integrity. INL supported the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior to recruit, vet, and train 7,000 new patrol police, restoring citizens’ trust in their police force. In Nigeria, INL is providing hands on mentoring to investigators and prosecutors going after the country’s most corrupt officials. In a global environment, INL also works with regional and international bodies to bring law enforcement officials together to build networks for cross-border collaboration on cases, compare notes on good practices, and build capacity. INL supports these peer networks and regional initiatives in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and the Asia-Pacific.

Through these efforts and others, INL has galvanized the world’s leading economies and political powers to lead by example, and generated groundbreaking anticorruption action plans and high-level support from other countries and leading political groups.

Denying Safe Haven: Denying corrupt individuals access to the United States and global financial systems sends a strong message about our values, and it demonstrates in meaningful ways that there are consequences for those who engage in corruption. INL coordinates special visa legal authorities that can bar entry of the corrupt and their families to the United States and deny access to American resources. We also work with the U.S. Department of Justice and international organizations to help countries pursue the proceeds of corruption located abroad. For example, INL support has allowed INTERPOL to convene a global network of asset recovery practitioners and to train investigators and prosecutors from over 30 countries across Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia to track and recover stolen public assets.

Bolstering our own Capacity: In addition to efforts abroad, the State Department is working to strengthen our capacity to best address corruption as it manifests in different sectors and regions. To fully implement the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the Department is enhancing training opportunities for our officers, sharing best practices internally, and seeking avenues to address emerging trends in corruption.

Whole of Government/Whole of Society Approach: INL works closely with others in the U.S. government as well as the private sector and civil society organizations as they advance important elements of good governance and integrity, such as the Open Government Partnership Initiative, the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.